BIG, West 8, and Atelier Ten unveil new Lower Hill Master Plan in Downtown Pittsburgh

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), along with West 8 and Atelier Ten, has unveiled a 28 acre master plan for Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District. Building upon the city’s efforts from the past decade, the proposal redevelops the public space around the former civic arena — including a public space across from Consol Energy Center — and connects the property to downtown, uptown and the rest of the hill district.

The public realm designed by West 8’s plays a vital role in achieving a neighborhood that is stitched into its context and is walkable, friendly, shady and green. The design vision leverages the topography of the site and a range of landscape typologies to suit this urban condition. A series of walkways, streetscapes, courtyards and park spaces are like a string of pearls that serve neighbors, workers, and day-to-day park users. Providing places to meet up with friends, relax during lunch hour, or simply enjoy a refreshing green oasis in the heart of the City. At night or for special occasions, the design has inherent flexibility for larger celebrations and community events. The success of the public realm hinges on its position as the organizing framework for the development.

Underpinning the major moves, Lower Hill Master Plan’s public realm is emblematic of the unique ecosystems, plants, and habitats that are found in the Allegheny Plateau landscape. Pittsburgh’s climate is taken into account, with programs and planting that provide year round and seasonal expression. With a varied terrain punctuated by granite outcroppings and programmatic experience, Lower Hill Master Plan’s public realm is a designed experience from end-to-end yet immediately recognizable as an experientially rich, united whole.

Commissioned by the Pittsburgh Penguins and McCormack Baron Salazar, the New Lower Hill District will encompass 1,200 residential units as well as over 1 million square feet of retail and commerical space, the master plan seeks to provide accessibility across Pittsburgh’s unique topography, creating a vibrant open space for the city’s residents to enjoy.

The project is expected to break ground in 2016 and cost an estimated $500 million.