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Landmarks Architecture Design Challenge project in downtown Vandergrift

September 24, 2007

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (Landmarks) has selected Vandergrift as the host community for its 12th annual Architectural Design Challenge for over 150 Westmoreland County middle school and high school students.

On September 26 and 27, members of the community will lead students on a tour to learn about the town’s history, unique architecture, and downtown revitalization plans. They will also study their project site which is the vacant building located at 134 Grant Avenue, this building will be the focus of the students’ design challenge. Once back at school, students will work in teams, over a five-month period, to create potential design solutions for rehabilitating 134 Grant Ave. into a “Galleria” Arts Center.

In February 2008, the students will return to Vandergrift to present their proposed designs and models to the community and to a selected panel of critics which will include architects. Student presentations will include drawings and models illustrating their designs for the building addressing the program for the proposed Arts Center.

The Vandergrift Improvement Program, Inc. (V.I.P) is excited about having the students work on the Design Challenge project in Vandergrift. “We look forward to seeing what the students will design for the former JC Penny’s building. This is a great opportunity for students to create design solutions that could actually get incorporated in the revitalization efforts,” says Shaun Yurcaba, Main Street Manager.

Through this project the students will learn about the architectural design process by having a real building to work with, a hypothetical proposed Arts Center, and a set of design guidelines to follow. The Architecture Design Challenge will teach younger generations about the value of small towns, historic architecture, and preservation.

Landmarks has numerous educational programs for students and teachers featuring local history and architecture. Using the environment as a classroom, students learn about local history, historic architecture, preservation, and revitalization. Landmarks’ also offers educational resources including in-school programs and field trips. Visit for more information.

The V.I.P. on site Main Street Manager is Mrs. Shaun Yurcaba, of Landmarks. The V.I.P. has selected PHLF to manage the main street revitalization efforts, working closely with the Landmarks staff, specifically with Arthur Ziegler, President, and Eugene Matta, Director of Real Estate and Special Development Projects.

The V.I.P. is a non-profit organization composed of local residents, businesses, and local and state government officials. The V.I.P. is a designated Main Street community funded in part by the Department of Community and Economic Development.

The V.I.P. is dedicated to the protection, preservation and restoration of Vandergrift by using a four-point approach that focuses on organization, economic restructuring, promotion, and design of the central business corridor as well as the residential areas of Vandergrift.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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