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Students Envision New Uses for the Former Railroad Roundhouse at Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood Green in PHLF’s Design Challenge

“I continue to love re-energizing old buildings. I love the vast amount of possibilities.”

––Westmoreland County high school student, April 5, 2019

“After participating in two ADC challenges, I have taken a liking to historic buildings and have gained an understanding of the importance of preserving these buildings.”
––Westmoreland County middle school student, April 4, 2019

For the 23rd consecutive year, Westmoreland County Schools participated with PHLF in an Architectural Design Challenge (ADC). PHLF issues a new design challenge each school year focusing on a vacant historic building in either the City of Pittsburgh or Westmoreland County. This was the most ambitious design challenge to date, due to the size and complex shape of the former railroad roundhouse and turntable, but the students were not intimidated. Their ideas, models, and presentations were bold and inspiring, showing sustainable new uses that would benefit the Hazelwood community.

Click here for a listing of awards.

To see photos of the models and presentations see the galleries below.

April 4 Middle School Presentations

April 5 Middle School Presentations

April 5 High School Presentations

Students envisioned converting the railroad roundhouse into:

  • a robotics museum, revealing the role that this region has played in the development of robotics;
  • a train station for a daily commuter train to Pittsburgh and a Hazelwood transit center;
  • a place where people could hang out and have fun with space for a bike course, walking trails, basketball court, and ice-skating rink;
  • a recreation center with a go-cart track, plus a snack bar and movie theater;
  • a museum featuring the history of the roundhouse, plus a memorial garden dedicated to Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson and a tribute to Andy Warhol;
  • an arcade and restaurant with displays honoring the history of Hazelwood and the roundhouse;
  • a science center and planetarium;
  • the Almono Community Center offering music, theater, life-skills, cooking, sewing, and physical fitness classes;
  • a high school for Hazelwood, in anticipation of the population that will be drawn to the community as Hazelwood Green develops;
  • an eco-friendly bed-and-breakfast with three train cars decorated with the history of the roundhouse;
  • a community center with a bike shop, rock-climbing wall, basketball court, healthy eating areas, and performance stage;
  • greenhouses, a chip-making factory, and restaurant that would provide jobs for Hazelwood residents and educate kids about healthy-eating habits;
  • an affordable, family-friendly experimental kitchen called “Below the Tracks”;
  • a medieval castle that would bring the middle ages to life for all who visited;
  • “Pups ‘n Cups”––a dog park, restaurant, and bakery;
  • a greenhouse and farm-to-table restaurant to benefit the community;
  • a shopping center and apartment complex;
  • the Hazelwood Art and Recreation Center;
  • the Steel City Tavern and museum;
  • an Italian restaurant and museum;
  • a multi-purpose community center;
  • the “Peach Pitt Tavern” and “Hazelwood Brewery & Arcade”;
  • the Hazelwood Youth Center; and
  • the Roundhouse Plaza, including a shopping center and “Hall of Remembrance.”

We thank the following judges for critiquing the student projects on April 4 and 5 and for encouraging this next generation to become actively involved in improving their communities, no matter what profession they pursue:

  • Ray Bowman (Pieper O’Brien)
  • Elmer Burger (architect, retired)
  • Mike Cahall (educator)
  • Anne Chen (GBBN)
  • Matt Conti (GBBN)
  • Kelley Folts (CannonDesign)
  • Melanie Como Harris (IKM)
  • Roger Hartung (IKM)
  • Jenna Kappelt (CMU, ALN)
  • Phyllis Kim (GBBN)
  • Nicole Kubas (CityStudio)
  • Scott Maritzer (Pieper O’Brien)
  • Sara McGuire (educator)
  • Samantha Weaver (educator)
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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