Currently an enormous parking lot that separates the Lower Hill neighborhood from downtown, the proposed 30-acre master plan for the Lower Hill District challenges traditional planning models and strives to reconnect the district to its rich context. Instead of placing streets and buildings and having open space respond to the residual spaces, the design prioritizes the landscape and the pedestrian realm as frameworks for the neighborhood. This, in turn, sets the datum for circulation and building layout.
By prioritizing pedestrians over buildings, the plan creates a vibrant mixed use neighborhood that leverages the site’s assets. It mitigates the steep terrain with a unique network of universally accessible paths. Inspired by the Allegheny Plateau vernacular, the new landscapes including Crawford Courts, Balcony Park, Wylie Plaza, Lower Hill Green and CAP Park create a vivid sensation of nature in the city.
As a result, the new master plan designed by West 8 in collaboration with Bjarke Ingels Group utilizes time-tested planning principles with a unique, site specific twist that makes it feel both contemporary and timeless.