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Envisioning New Uses for a Vacant Lot in Homestead

I learned a lot about the history of the Homestead area. It was interesting to learn to take into account the balance between contextualization and creativity when designing. The program helped me be creative and utilize space. ––High School Apprentice

High school students from the City of Pittsburgh, Deer Lakes, Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Shaler, and Upper St. Clair participated in PHLF’s Architecture Apprenticeship program, offered through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, in the fall of 2017. After learning about the design process, visiting their design site at 307-09 East Eighth Avenue in Homestead, and touring various places for inspiration, students presented their designs to a jury of architects on December 7, 2017.

David Lewis, a founding trustee of PHLF and a distinguished urban designer, reminded the students that “the past is the living tradition that we all inherit. We take the city as we find it, in all its problems, appreciating what exists and envisioning what can be. In your project, you are re-stitching the urban fabric: you are visualizing what can be on Homestead’s historic main street.”

The photo gallery below shows the vacant lot at 307-09 East Eighth Avenue in Homestead and the design concepts presented by eight high school Apprentices on December 7, 2017. Their drawings show a:

  • sewing/crafting/clothing donation center;
  • train-themed restaurant;
  • yoga studio and coffee shop;
  • gym, smoothie bar, and office space;
  • community center with exhibits, a recording studio, and rooftop garden;
  • mixed-used building with a cafe, affordable housing, a stage for local talent, and a rooftop garden;
  • farmer’s market, grocery store, community space, and housing;
  • and museum with space for a cafe, community gatherings, and private room rentals.

The apprentices described their experiences during PHLF’s five-session crash course in architecture as: “eye-opening, inspiring, enlightening, making history modern, thought provoking, well organized, unique, exciting, helpful, educational, and fun.” Thanks to the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, PHLF has been presenting its Architecture Apprenticeship program since the early 1980s.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633