The Plaza: Hazelwood Green's first public space, and civic heart.
Construction is underway.
Construction of the $5.7 million Plaza at Hazelwood Green, the site’s first outdoor public space and civic heart of the 178-acre riverfront development, is now underway. This first phase of construction comprising the Lower Lawn is due for completion in late 2019. The Plaza’s second phase, comprising the Central Plaza and Upper Lawns, and water feature, will be completed in mid-2020. Jendoco Construction Corporation was selected this spring as the general contractor for the construction of the Plaza. Jendoco is already working at Hazelwood Green on the fit-out of the Mill 19 Phase A building for CMU and on the core and shell of Mill 19 Phase B building for RIDC.
Designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), the Plaza occupies a rectangular two-acre space south of the Mill 19 building. The open-air space includes rain gardens, pollinator gardens, a water feature, lawns, trees and native vegetation with hardscape surfaces that facilitate a range of uses. The design for the Plaza balances softscape (i.e. lawn, vegetation, rain gardens, etc.) with hardscape (i.e., paved surfaces) to facilitate a range of uses and flexibility for the space. The gentle water feature with low water flow that acts as a tranquil and interactive element for visitors. This space also enables a wide-range of programming. The ability to host community events and small-scale concerts were a major consideration in the design and layout of the Plaza. By providing future-proof infrastructure - electrical plug-ins, water fountains, different sized spaces, and programmed lighting - the space will be able to evolve over time responding to changing surroundings and needs.
Visitors to the site will have the opportunity to relax and experience the beauty of the Plaza through a series of five swings located along the eastern side of the Plaza. These swing seats are designed and fabricated by Carnegie Mellon University faculty and students in a joint Manufacturing Futures Initiative and School of Architecture collaboration, with financial support from Almono, LLC. As a robotically steam-bent wood form, these swings are representative of the advanced design and manufacturing work being done at CMU and within the first phase of Mill 19.
Highlights also include a solar canopy that will generate power for the site while providing Plaza visitors with shade and protection from the elements, site furnishings that are being designed by local artists and producers and fabricated locally through a process coordinated by the Office of Public Art and Monmade, and a sculpture that will be designed and fabricated by Mobile Sculpture Workshop, a Hazelwood-based program that trains Pittsburgh area youth to create public art.
In an effort of both sustainable construction and reuse, material remnants from the land’s previous use as a steel mill site are also being incorporated. Sandstone blocks from an old wall along Second Avenue are being deconstructed and will be repurposed in the Plaza as low walls and used in the construction of rainwater swales. Removal of the former mill wall eliminates visual and access barriers to the site and facilitates the eventual installation of a complete sidewalk along a stretch of roadway that provides little to no space for pedestrians.
Finally, plans are also in place for a tree nursery in 2020. This process is still being finalized, but the nursery will be designed and installed through a collaboration with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and other partner organizations, the nursery is intended as a temporary, activating installation that will supply street trees on site and to the Greater Hazelwood neighborhood in the future.
About the design process.
Building from the Big Tent Event (in October 2017) and guided by the RFQ/RFP objectives, the design team and ReMake Group met with several focus groups to discuss the Plaza and learn from experiences in Pittsburgh. Focus groups included experts in park and public space, Hazelwood neighborhood representatives, site tenants, sustainability experts, Hazelwood youth, and programming and event managers, to name a few.
The Plaza Final Land Development Plan (FLDP) was approved by Pittsburgh Planning Commission during the Hearing & Action on November 6, 2018. Following Planning Commission approval, the design team completed construction drawings, the project was bid, and in Spring 2019, a general contractor was selected to begin construction on the Plaza.