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A Park Grows in Downtown Pittsburgh

Construction begins on urban green space at Wood Street and the Boulevard of the Allies

PPU Blvd Eve View Final

The Point
Winter 2010

Construction on the University’s much-anticipated urban park at the corner of Wood St. and the Boulevard of the Allies is under way and expected to be completed by fall 2011.

Site preparation and preliminary construction began this fall on the corner park, a distinctive outdoor gathering spot that will feature trees, plantings and a colonnade that will wrap the sides of two University buildings: the Boulevard Apartments and 100 Wood St.

The south colonnade will open into a new restaurant on the lower level of the Wood St. building, and will culminate in a striking stair tower featuring a granite fountain on the lower level.

Designers for the park are the architectural firm Tasso Katselas Associates (TKA) Inc. and Klavon Design, a landscape architecture firm. Massaro Corporation is leading construction on the park.

Massaro, which has managed construction for a variety of University building projects over the past several years, was especially eager to be involved in the park project, according to Steve Massaro, vice president of business development. “This project is adding green space to Downtown Pittsburgh and Point Park’s campus,” said Massaro. “It’s not just a building project, it’s an asset for the entire Downtown community. We’re honored to be part of Point Park’s vision for its Academic Village.”

Bordered by a new restaurant (occupant to be determined), the attractive plaza will feature covered colonnades for strolling and dining and plenty of space for outdoor seating, said University Architect Elmer Burger. The street sides of the park will feature a low wall for seating that will also help control pedestrian circulation in and out of the park, which is situated near a busy intersection.

The new stair tower will serve visitors to 100 Wood St. and provide support for the striking new waterfall, created by Orlando-based custom fountain manufacturer BluWorld Inc. In operation during all but the coldest winter months, the fountain will feature four different kinds of granite to provide year-round visual interest. The park will also include space for performing arts events and may eventually feature an electronic LED screen on the wall of 100 Wood St., offering even more entertainment options.

The new park will bring welcome greenery to Point Park’s urban campus. The colonnades will be covered with wisteria vines and the plaza will feature six large beds planted with annuals, as well as a collection of River Birch trees.
“The River Birch has honey brown bark that peels, but doesn’t fall off. The foliage turns bright yellow in the fall,” said Burger. “It will be a beautiful tree for lightly shading the park.

The green plaza will complement the design of the revitalized streetscape along the Wood Street Corridor, between Ft. Pitt Boulevard and Third Ave., which will feature new Frontier Elm trees, lighting, paving, signage and more. Construction on the 18-month Wood St. project began last summer.

The park, along with the streetscape improvements, not only delineates Point Park’s campus but represents a very visible gesture to the Downtown community, according to Burger.

“These projects will welcome the whole city to our campus and the University’s neighborhood.”

Illustration by Ed Dumont. Courtesy TKA Inc. and Klavon Design.
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University.