Mellon Square Restoration Underway
Construction began in June of 2011 when the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy broke ground for the First Phase of the Mellon Square Restoration project. To revitalize this key, significant landscape in the Downtown core, the Parks Conservancy is leading this preservation, interpretation and management project in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.
The First Phase of the restoration includes three signature features: the Cascade Fountain, the new terrace overlooking Smithfield Street, and at street level, an Interpretive Wall to tell the inspiring story of Mellon Square and its role in Pittsburgh's Renaissance.
Read our blog to learn more about the groundbreaking festivities.
About Mellon Square
Among Pennsylvania’s many “firsts” is Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square – the first modern garden plaza built over a parking garage and a forerunner of green roofs. This significant landscape, originally designed by the distinguished landscape architecture firm Simonds & Simonds and architects Mitchell & Ritchey, has brought liveliness and beauty to downtown Pittsburgh for almost 60 years. The 1.37 acre Square, which is located within the Pittsburgh Central Downtown Historic District, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, and eligible for individual listing as a resource of national importance.
Mellon Square remains an active space but shows serious signs of deterioration. In 2009, with funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and BNY Mellon, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, completed the Preservation, Interpretation & Management Plan with a team led by Patricia O’Donnell of Heritage Landscapes. The Parks Conservancy was formed in 1996 to improve the quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by permanently restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh. The organization has completed eleven capital projects in Pittsburgh city parks and raised more than $50 million since its inception.
This comprehensive plan will return Mellon Square to its former glory, and make it an integral and positive part of Downtown life: an oasis where today's workers, shoppers, residents, and visitors can relax and refresh their spirits; a significant asset to economic development efforts; an emblem of the city's commitment to being "green"; and an icon of Pittsburgh's revitalization, right in the heart of the Golden Triangle.
Fundraising and restoration are now underway and will continue into 2013. Once the restoration is complete, the City’s Department of Public Works will supply basic maintenance, while the Parks Conservancy will supervise maintenance and management. The Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh will jointly program the space with concerts and other activities.
Mellon Square’s revitalization will be carried out in several phases. With the goal of restoring the original 1955 design intent of landscape architect John O. Simonds and architect Dahlen K. Ritchey, the restoration plan incorporates modern construction techniques to solve problems that the Square faced for decades. Based on an original concept by Simonds and Ritchey, a new Terrace will be created on the current roof overlooking Smithfield Street.
Because of Mellon Square’s intricate design, overseeing its maintenance requires a careful eye for detail. The First Phase of the Parks Conservancy’s restoration project will focus improvements in the area from the top of the two staircases down to Smithfield Street, including the Cascade Fountain.
* Mellon Square Preservation, Interpretation & Management Plan (2009) Team Credits
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners, with Robert Silman Associates, Grenald Waldron Associates, LaQuatra Bonci Associates, MTR Landscape Architects, Neil Silberman, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and EDP Landscape Architects.
Restoration Project (2011) Team Credits
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners, with Pfaffmann Associates, Hilbish McGee Lighting Design, Atlantic Engineering, and Mortar + ink.
Mellon Square: A Modern Masterpiece
Check out this video highlighting Mellon Square's historical and design significance.