For this project, I collaborated with my industrial design classmates Albert Song, Kirsten Thulborn, and Jim Toggweiler to discover the physical and cultural identity of Garfield, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, and design a space that benefits and unifies its community.
We immersed ourselves in the community and spoke with local leaders and other residents to find unaddressed needs in the neighborhood. This led us to the Green + Screen project, a community initiative to improve the pedestrian experience along Penn Avenue, one of Pittsburgh's major avenues, by repurposing abandoned buildings and vacant lots. After speaking with coordinators of the Green + Screen project about which lots needed to be repurposed, we designed a park for an abandoned lot in the heart of Garfield's business district. The lot is next to Spak Brothers Pizza, a restaurant that is well known throughout Pittsburgh but has no tables for customers to enjoy their food.
Now that we decided on a location, we began ideating concepts that added green space, areas for community events, and seating for Spak Brothers. Some of our early concepts explored the possibility of using the roof of Spak Brothers as a community building space, but building access to the roof took up valuable space, was costly, and posed a potential safety hazard.
We then began experimenting with different arrangements of pathways and green space to facilitate the flow of visitors within the space.
We decided on a concept that had three plant beds and a wide, central walkway. This created a nice balance between space for greenery and space for visitors.
The seating we designed for the park uses concrete and wood for durability and longevity, and has an aesthetic that keeps attention on the visitors and greenery.
We placed the benches along the park's asymmetrical path to provide seating for Spak Brothers and encourage movement and relaxation.
We designed five different bench configurations that suit a variety of visitors' needs. The different configurations encourage people to visit the park whether they are alone, with friends, or need an eating surface.
The park's plant beds have a minimal appearance to keep a common look throughout the year, but include a Japanese Maple tree as a central element that allows the park to evolve with changing seasons.
This image shows the park between its two neighboring buildings.
The park features in-ground and overhead lighting to ensure the safety of its visitors at night.