Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUL 2014

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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July 2014 59 The park design of Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture respects and highlights the historic importance of the site, while bringing renewed vigor to the plaza. The park is within Allegheny Commons, part of a tract of land just north of where the Allegheny River and Ohio River meet, which was established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1783 to establish Allegheny City. Pittsburgh annexed Allegheny City in 1907. Allegheny Center, the hub of Allegheny City, had the Children's Museum, the Buhl Planetarium and the Carnegie Free Library, among other amenities. However, the area deteriorated steadily from during the depression and into the 1950s. An urban renewal project ensued, razing hundreds of buildings and eliminating what had been a walkable business district. In its place was an enclosed mall that opened in 1965, and a below street-level Allegheny Square Plaza devoid of greenery. By the 1990s, the mall had failed, but was successfully converted to an office complex. Today, Allegheny Commons and Buhl Community Park are once again the public gathering area it once was for Allegheny City. Important design features for Buhl Park are bioswales and native plantings. The landscape architects assembled and managed a large team of designers and engineers to meet the challenges of building this park, which emphasized species native to the area's waterways, woodlands and meadows, while processing the plaza's stormwater. The park offers a central plaza with tables and chairs, a large meadow of native grasses, benches, natural bluestone walls, rain gardens for storm water management, bike racks and drinking top left Buhl Community Park and the "Cloud Arbor" structure in front of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh opened June 23, 2012. One child (left) is espied running through a shroud of fog, while another is clearly more intrigued by the acrobat. The mist has a cooling effect without getting people wet. PhOTO: ELizA BAChELdEr, ChiLdrEN'S MuSEuM Of PiTTSBurgh. top right The fog system is designed for varying cycles of use. At the launch, it was set to cycle for 15 seconds every 10 minutes. Water usage at that setting is about 33 gallons per hour. PhOTO: NEd KAhN

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