The high-rising Cathedral of Learning in Oakland, Downtown’s glass PPG Place building: Pittsburgh has some of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Now, for the second year, the City of Bridges is embracing its unique styles of architecture with Pittsburgh Architecture Week.
What Is Pittsburgh Architecture Week?
Last year, AIA Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Architecture Foundation put together the first Pittsburgh Architecture Week to introduce the public to how architecture interacts with their everyday lives. The two organizations are back for a second year with more fun and educational events for the community.
What Events Are There?
Pittsburgh Architecture Week will kick off on October 6 with a Modular Building Factory Tour from the Green Building Alliance. Participants will be bussed to the Structural Modular Innovations home factory in Strattanville, where guides will give educational presentations on the way to and from the factory on top of the educational tour within the factory.
The tour will focus on the company’s efforts to make modular construction more environmentally friendly and provide information on how quality control of the building process starts with the workers in the factory and continues throughout the process. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about the future of housing construction in Pittsburgh from where it all starts.
Then the rest of the first day will include an AIA Open Studio Crawl in Bloomfield and an exhibition by the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The presentation is titled Unsettling Matter, Gaining Ground, and focuses on fossil fuel economies. Through 10 different bodies of work, Unsettling Matter tells the story of the impact of fossil fuel sites on communities and the environment they destroy.
Are There Any Design-Focused Events?
The week’s events go beyond the actual construction. A PechaKucha Night on October 9, for example, gives creatives a chance to present 20 photos of anything they’ve been working on. Afterward, they can use the opportunity to network with and get feedback from other creatives in the area. Pittsburgh also holds its annual Design Pittsburgh showcase. Here, the community can view new architectural design exhibitions and even vote on the People’s Choice Award in the Design Award Competition.
Finally, to close Pittsburgh Architecture Week, a free showing of the Cuban documentary Unfinished Spaces will take place at Carnegie Mellon University. The award-winning film tells the story of Fidel Castro’s dream to build the Cuban National Arts Schools to make his utopia come to life and the young artists assigned to the design.
Are There Events For Kids?
Throughout the week, the kiddos will have many opportunities to participate in their architectural passions. Starting on October 7, Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts will hold an Architecture Learning Network Education Fair. This fair is explicitly designed for children in grades K-12 interested in architecture. There will be interactive activities for all ages throughout the day and information on career paths and opportunities.
The excitement of architecture continues for families with the next event, a Downtown Skyscraper Rooftop Tour with Mark Houser. Who hasn’t dreamt of seeing the city from the highest point? The tour tells stories about some of Pittsburgh’s most prominent business people. You’ll take in these tales as you awe at the top of the Koppers, Oliver, Clark, and Benedum-Trees Buildings. Also, if you’re looking to explore more of the area, there is a Downtown walking tour on October 13.
Two other walking tours are offered on October 7 through Deutschtown and Wilkinsburg. Then another through Squirrel Hill on October 8. All these tours will include insights into the towns’ start and fun facts about their historic buildings. The Squirrel Hill walking tour will also have a special introduction to one of the city’s oldest synagogues in honor of Sukkot, a week-long Jewish holiday.
What If I Have Questions?
Besides walking tours, community members can attend different panels throughout the week from the NOMA: U Dream Panel. The Reimagining Cities/Downtown Panel will provide information and answer any questions you may have.
More information on Pittsburgh Architecture Week can be found at here, where new events may be added closer to the date.
Story by Kylie Thomas
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