Construction Of Public Plaza At Hazelwood Green Brownfield Redevelopment Site Underway In Pittsburgh
Construction of the $5.7 million Plaza at Hazelwood Green, the site’s first outdoor public space and civic heart of the 178-acre riverfront development, is now underway. This first phase of construction comprising the Lower Lawn is due for completion in late 2019.
The Plaza’s second phase, comprising the Central Plaza and Upper Lawns, and water feature, will be completed in mid-2020.
The Plaza at Hazelwood Green is a project of Almono LP, a partnership of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, made possible with grant support from The Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation and an anonymous donor.
Designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), the Plaza occupies a rectangular two-acre space south of the Mill 19 building. The open-air space includes rain gardens, pollinator gardens, a water feature, lawns, trees and native vegetation with hardscape surfaces that facilitate a range of uses.
Highlights also include a solar canopy that will generate power for the site while providing Plaza visitors with shade and protection from the elements, site furnishings that are being designed by local artists and producers and fabricated locally through a process coordinated by the Office of Public Art and Monmade, and a sculpture that will be designed and fabricated by Mobile Sculpture Workshop, a Hazelwood-based program that trains Pittsburgh area youth to create public art.
“The Plaza is the primary civic space for Hazelwood Green, and our foremost goal has been to make it welcoming and accessible to everyone – new site tenants, existing neighborhood residents, and visitors,” says Hazelwood Green Project Director Rebecca Flora. “Along with the beautiful design that includes sustainability elements, we have also provided practical fixtures to encourage and enhance enjoyment of the space and facilitate future event programming to activate the site. These fixtures include drinking fountains, charging stations, bicycle racks, a Healthy Ride bike share station and food truck-ready hook ups.”
Material remnants from the land’s previous use as a steel mill site are also being incorporated.
Sandstone blocks from an old wall along Second Avenue are being deconstructed and will be repurposed in the Plaza as low walls and used in the construction of rainwater swales.
Removal of the former mill wall eliminates visual and access barriers to the site and facilitates the eventual installation of a complete sidewalk along a stretch of roadway that provides little to no space for pedestrians.
“We are pleased to be in construction and look forward to seeing this space enjoyed by everyone in the city,” said Kathryn Gustafson, founding principal, GGN. “This will be the first place in the larger Hazelwood Green development where we can celebrate the site’s strong industrial history while designing for ecological and environmental sustainability. There is something for each person to delight in: from bugs and butterflies in the pollinator gardens, to flexible spaces for impromptu play or planned events, to water elements to dip one’s toes, to shady seating areas for quiet conversation. A slice of the past and a bright future will fuse together in this unique place.”
Visitors to the site will have the opportunity to relax and experience the beauty of the Plaza through a series of five swings located along the eastern side of the Plaza.
These swing seats are designed and fabricated by Carnegie Mellon University faculty and students in a joint Manufacturing Futures Initiative and School of Architecture collaboration, with financial support from Almono, LLC.
As a robotically steam-bent wood form, these swings are representative of the advanced design and manufacturing work being done at CMU and within the first phase of Mill 19.
Plans are also in place for a tree nursery in 2020. Designed and installed through a collaboration with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and other partner organizations, the nursery is intended as a temporary, activating installation that will supply street trees on site and to the Greater Hazelwood neighborhood in the future.
In 2017 Hazelwood community members were invited to submit their ideas on the elements they most wanted to see in the new public space. This input, together with Almono LLC’s overall objectives for this first public space project at Hazelwood Green, framed the directive to the design team to create a welcoming civic center for the site.
Prior to developing their concept, the GGN design team and ReMake Group, Almono’s project manager for the Plaza, also met with local focus groups that included experts in park and public realm, Hazelwood neighborhood representatives, site tenants, sustainability experts, Hazelwood youth, and programming and event managers.
This spring, Jendoco Construction Corporation was selected as the general contractor for the construction of the Plaza. Jendoco is already working at Hazelwood Green on the fit-out of the Mill 19 Phase A building for CMU and on the core and shell of Mill 19 Phase B building for RIDC. Jendoco mobilized for Plaza construction this summer.
While developing the concept and final design in 2018, the GGN design team met with local focus groups that included experts in park and public space, Hazelwood neighborhood representatives, site tenants, sustainability experts, Hazelwood youth, and programming and event managers.
Partners and collaborators in the construction of the Plaza and installations in the space include: Carnegie Mellon University – Manufacturing Futures Initiative; Office of Public Art; Monmade; and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.
For further detail on the project, visit the Hazelwood Green website.
(Photo: Rendering of the public plaza area.)
[Posted: September 3, 2019]
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