Project DescriptionFROM DOCOMOMO US:
The Civic/Institutional Design Award of Excellence is given for the restoration of Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square. Envisioned as a cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s post WWII renaissance by Richard King Mellon and Mayor David L. Lawrence, this space was collaboratively designed by architects Mitchell & Ritchey and landscape architects Simonds & Simonds. It opened in 1955 as the nation’s first urban plaza designed with an underground garage and retail space as an integral composition. After falling into decline due to weather, system failures, and use, a Preservation, Interpretation & Management Plan was first developed in 2008 that informed the five-year restoration and revitalization project focused on recapturing the original design intent and solving persistent issues of decline. Jury chair, architect Frederick Bland noted, “As one of the nation’s oldest modern urban plazas – and an original component of the success story of Pittsburgh’s mid-twentieth century renaissance – this detailed and comprehensive restoration considers both daytime and nighttime uses, includes an interpretative display to convey the meaning of the design to the public, and establishes a maintenance endowment and public-private operating agreement the ensure the design’s longevity. While some modern urban landscapes around the country are being ripped out, Pittsburgh has found a more enlightened way.