Allegheny Riverfront Park signals Pittsburgh’s transformed relationships with its cultural district and its river. Although Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. planned a park system for this river edge in 1911, it soon became a series of highways, which yielded long and narrow residual urban sites. The design of the park seeks every available opportunity to improve the public usefulness of these spaces in order to create an experientially rich pathway from an urban upper level park over a major regional highway down to a lower level park at the river’s edge. The lower level is deliberately wild in its native plantings, which can regenerate themselves after floods or ice flows. The upper level offers access to outstanding river views from refined bluestone walkways planted with stately London Plane trees.
The site for the upper level park was formed through the relocation of a 50-foot-wide traffic median in Fort Duquesne Boulevard. Access to the lower level is achieved with two new ramps running down from the Seventh Street Bridge, traversing a 25-foot grade change. Steel frames with chain link create scrims for vines along the roadside and shield the sight and sound of traffic.
Allegheny Riverfront Park received a 2002 EDRA/Places Place-Making Award, a 2002 ASLA Design Honor Award
, and a 1997 Progressive Architecture Awards Citation.
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust: Allegheny Riverfront Park