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Students Envision New Uses for North Side Lot

Twelve teams of middle school students from Westmoreland County and Pittsburgh’s Environmental Charter School presented their concepts for a vacant lot at 110 West North Avenue during PHLF’s 17th Annual Architectural Design Challenge on March 19. We thank interior designers Alisa Griffin and Sheri Kosh and architects Roger Hartung, David Morgan, Richard Schmitz, and Terry Walsh for critiquing the models and awarding the prizes.

“It’s absolutely amazing to see how creative and proud the students are and how inspirational their ideas are for helping to revitalize the North Side,” said Louise Sturgess of PHLF. “Each team spent many hours developing their concept, drawings, model, and oral and written reports. Their ideas were feasible and responded to the needs of the community.”

Funds from The Fine Foundation, McSwigan Family Foundation, and Alfred M. Oppenheimer Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation help underwrite PHLF’s annual Architectural Design Challenge.

The first-place winners (from Harrold Middle School) envisioned The Western Pennsylvania Bridge Museum for the vacant lot, which could even be a National Bridge Museum since no bridge museum yet exists in the nation. Other groups envisioned a mixed-use building with retail, a restaurant, and cupcake-making center; a community center; a mixed-use building with a bike rental/sports store, clothing boutique, and apartments; an arts center; a “Dream, Do, and Live” community center with “healthy, fun activities”; a Global Foods grocery; a Pittsburgh Pastries bakery; a North Side youth center; a micro-creamery (making and serving ice cream and yogurt); a recreational center; and a cafe “to unite people in a relaxed environment.” Each group incorporated green-building elements, considered the historic context of the area, and convinced the judges that their concept would create pride in the neighborhood and draw more people to the North Side.

Wendover Team 2 won Second Place and the Student Award; Wendover Team 1 won Third Place. Honorable Mentions were awarded to West Hempfield, New Kensington Arnold Team 2, and Franklin Regional Team 1. The Environmental Charter School Team 1 won the Penguin Award for the most important lesson learned from a challenging situation.

“We thank all the teachers who involved their students in this design challenge,” said Karen Cahall of PHLF. “This experience strengthens math, art, research, writing, and speaking skills in particular, and gives students the chance to work together to solve real community problems,” she added.

Below is a photo gallery of the March 19 event, held in the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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