Pittsburgh hockey franchise hires BIG to masterplan new urban neighbourhood

by Kim Megson | 19 Nov 2015

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have unveiled their masterplan for an urban neighbourhood in Pittsburgh on the site of a demolished hockey stadium.

National Hockey League side the Pittsburgh Penguins left their Civic Arena home in 2012 and relocated to the Populous-designed Consol Energy Center. Their old ground was razed, but the franchise gained the rights to re-develop the site from the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Allegheny County (SEA).

The Penguins are overseeing the development through an affiliate; the Pittsburgh Arena Real Estate Redevelopment (PAR). They have have partnered on the project with real estate firm McCormack Baron Salazar.

Danish architecture firm BIG were hired to visualise the project in the city’s Lower Hill District. Their masterplan includes 1 million sq ft (93,000sq m) of retail and commerce space and 1,200 units of housing across 28 acres.

The neighbourhood will supplement the area’s existing street grid with a new network of parks, paths and stacked terraced buildings that extend uphill and provide panoramic views of the city.

“The urban fabric combines a green network of effortless circulation with a quirky character reminiscent of a historical downtown,” said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels. “Topography and accessibility merge to create a unique new part of Pittsburgh.”

The city’s mayor, Bill Peduto, added: “This masterplan is not just about development, it’s about adding to what we have, which is already incredibly special, and building something for the next 50 years. By bringing BIG in, we’re taking that next big step. We’re not just building buildings there.”

Most of the Lower Hill District’s planned public realm has been created by urban design and landscape architecture studio West 8. They have added granite outcroppings and generous terraces to the public space to reference the region’s Appalachian Mountains.

"The site, with its slopes and views, is perfectly suited for bringing an experience of the native landscape to this urban condition,” said studio partner Jamie Maslyn. “The design creates a new open space and identity, but more importantly gives neighbours and visitors the sensation of nature in the heart of the city."

International environmental design consultants Atelier Ten have added sustainable goals to the masterplan; including a rainwater harvesting system that will irrigate the public space.

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have unveiled their masterplan for an urban neighbourhood in Pittsburgh on the site of a demolished hockey stadium. National Hockey League side the Pittsburgh Penguins left their Civic Arena home in 2012 and relocated to the Populous-designed Consol Energy Center. Their old ground was razed, but the franchise gained the rights to re-develop the site from the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Allegheny County (SEA). The
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The Lower Hills area was once the home of hockey side the Pittsburgh Penguins / BIG
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