A Decade of Schenley Plaza: Ten Design Takeaways
Ten years after the completion of Pittsburgh's Schenley Plaza, the design team reflects on lessons learned
Schenley Plaza—the formal entrance to Schenley Park—was a key component of the economic and social regeneration of the Oakland district of Pittsburgh. At the turn of the 20th century, the plaza existed as rectangular tree bosques framing an open space and the Schenley Memorial Fountain. However, this design was unsuccessful as a public space and was eventually converted into a parking lot. Sasaki’s design for the plaza is dynamic, unifying the various land uses that surround plaza and creating a green space where people can enjoy both the pleasures of daily life and periodic special events.
The plaza stitches together the park and the Oakland urban fabric, inviting people to engage with the landscape and with each other. A pedestrian promenade runs diagonally through the plaza. Pavilions, gardens, fountains are oriented on two axes and appear to pedestrians as they walk along the path. Sasaki incorporated surviving tree plantings from the original design into the landscape. A multipurpose lawn and flower garden relates the renovated Schenley Memorial Fountain to the nearby University of Pittsburgh campus.
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