Architecture Apprentices Propose Solutions for Vacant Lot

PHLF’s place-based educational programs give students throughout the Pittsburgh region the opportunity to use a range of academic skills to solve real community problems and explore career interests in the process. We thank the McSwigan Family Foundation and many others for supporting our educational programs.

On December 7, 2016, twelve students from 10 school districts in Allegheny County presented their design solutions for a vacant lot at 307-09 East Eighth Avenue in Homestead. This was the fifth and final session in PHLF’s annual Architectural Apprenticeship program offered through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

Architects Paul Tellers and Raymond Bowman joined David Lewis (the distinguished urban planner, teacher, artist, and author), Samantha Carter from CMU’s School of Architecture and the Architecture Learning Network, Lloyd Cunningham, president of Homestead Borough Council, and Patrick Shattuck, real estate director for the Mon Valley Initiative in critiquing the students’ plans.

Students considered the needs of the community, green-building requirements, and their own personal interests in developing mixed-use concepts for the site. Ideas included a coffee shop and music shop with practice rooms; a deli-grocery store and branch library with internet access; a coffee bar and “The Furnace” restaurant with steel beams hanging from the ceiling; a bar and restaurant celebrating the history of the area; a cafe with apartments above and a rooftop garden; an art store and studio; a community-oriented restaurant; a community center with exercise rooms and a study resource center; a “Comfort Cafe” and residences; an art gallery and center for all the arts––drawing, sculpture, digital art, and writing; a cafe and clothing store with a rooftop garden; and an art gallery and studio designed to mix both the traditional and contemporary aspects of Homestead’s character.