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Pine-Richland’s First Annual Architectural Design Challenge

After many months of work, six teams of sixth-grade gifted students from Eden Hall Upper Elementary School presented their models on April 5 to a jury of architects and community representatives showing how they would adapt the vacant Parsons House Garage on Chatham University’s Eden Hall campus to house an orientation center that would connect the community with the Falk School of Sustainability that is being developed on the 388-acre site in Gibsonia, PA.

“This first annual architectural design challenge was the result of a new partnership with Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation,” said PHLF Executive Director Louise Sturgess. “Joanna Sovek and Jennifer Kopach, Eden Hall Upper Elementary Gifted Support teachers, connected with our organizations in 2015 so they could involve their students in meaningful assignments based in their community.” Kelly Henderson (LEED AP O+M), K-12 education coordinator at Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus, highlighted this educational partnership (that also involves the Frick Art & Historical Center) during her presentation with Ms. Sovek, Ms. Kopach, and Principal Steven Smith at the Green Schools Conference, held in Pittsburgh from March 31 to April 1 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

In the gallery below see the Design Challenge on April 5, 2016.

“One of our main goals in design challenges such as these,” said Louise, “is to let young people know that they have a voice in their community and that they have valid ideas for making it better. In the process of developing their model, oral report, and written presentation, they strengthen academic, problem-solving, and teamwork skills; they become passionate about their ideas for reusing a historic structure; and they feel more connected to their Pine-Richland community. They take tremendous pride in what they accomplish, and we are always impressed and inspired by their ideas and energy.”

Each team demonstrated that they can collaborate and develop an excellent design concept for a vacant building. By saving and finding a new use for that building, they are able to rejuvenate a local landmark so a sense of continuity is maintained in Pine-Richland.

A special thanks to the following people for serving as judges: Lou Anne Caligiuri, Chatham University; Samantha Carter, Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture; Christopher Driscoll, Young Preservationists Association; Nancy Evans, Northwood Realty; Brian Newhouse, engineering consultant; Kelley Stroup, architectural historian; and Paul Tellers, AIA.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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