The 2018 National DiscoverDesign Competition is now open! This annual competition hosted by the Chicago Architecture Center challenges high school students to design solutions to real world problems using the design process. This year’s challenge asks students to design a community market in a Chicago neighborhood that improves access to resources and provides a public gathering space. The deadline for entries is November 30 at 5pm

BASE Youth Community Art Project Installation Party

Over the course of the school year, Assemble Teachers worked with Brothers and Sisters Emerging (BASE) teens to design and create a community art and architecture project. After the teens decided to make something with glass mosaics, we teamed up with the Pittsburgh Glass Center and ultimately made series of mosaic stepping stones that will be installed in BASE’s grassy outdoor space.

After we show off the teens’ mosaic stepping stones, we’ll be sharing snacks and leading hands-on activities. Come celebrate with us! This event is open to all ages, and Garfield families are encouraged to join.

This project involved many community partners including Brothers and Sisters Emerging, Assemble, the Architecture Learning Network, and Pittsburgh Glass Center. This program was generously supported by a Remake Learning Pathways Grant.

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Students Present Models Showing New Uses for a Historic Building

Eight teams of sixth-grade students from Eden Hall Upper Elementary School participated in PHLF’s third annual Architectural Design Challenge for the Pine Richland School District on April 24. Their challenge was to transform the Morledge House Garage on Chatham University’s Eden Hall campus into a place where people from the community could come to learn about the Eden Hall campus and interact with each other.

The award recipients on April 24 were:

  • First Place: The Lasarchitects
  • Second Place and Student Award: Axolotl Army
  • Third Place: Raspberry Architects
  • Honorable Mention: Crafty Crusaders
  • Penguin Award (most important lesson learned from taking a risk): RB2 Architects

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Student Presentations on Former G. C. Murphy’s Building

Nineteen middle school teams and four high school teams from Westmoreland County Schools presented their models and spoke passionately about their plans for reusing two vacant buildings in West Newton during PHLF’s 22nd annual Architectural Design Challenge on March 22 and 23. The historic buildings, at 123-127 East Main Street, were formerly occupied by the G. C. Murphy Company.

Many of the student teams showed how the buildings could be adapted as a youth hostel, which was the program suggested because of the proximity of the buildings to the Great Allegheny Passage bike path. For example, Franklin Regional Middle School (Team A) proposed an:

Art Deco-themed youth hostel and diner … . The re-design of this once-flourishing G. C. Murphy Building complements West Newton’s past and the building’s past and paves the way for the rehabilitation of the energy and vigor of downtown West Newton. Our design includes a youth hostel, a diner, a bike storage room, a rooftop lounge, and various other necessities. A goal of our building is to be as green as possible. … However, the main goal of our design is to attract more people into West Newton, especially downtown West Newton, and to make it more energized.

Other teams suggested that the buildings be adapted for use as:

  • A fitness center and juice bar
  • Parker’s Place, a hotel and café (named for the distinctive Parker-truss bridge in West Newton)
  • Vinoski Winery and Riverbank Bed and Breakfast
  • PetNet (a pet store) and the Come-and-Go Hostel

Each team created mixed-uses for the buildings that would serve the West Newton community year-round, as well as people biking on the trail. The models were well constructed and incorporated green building and handicap accessible features. Several teams surveyed the West Newton community to determine the best uses for the buildings; many teams researched the history of the community and incorporated historical themes into the new uses they proposed; one team spoke directly with Bill Callahan, Western PA Community Preservation Coordinator, to find out exactly what it meant to be located in a National-Register-eligible Historic District.

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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. 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.


Students who Show Up for Summer Learning Benefit, New Study Finds

Students who Show Up for Summer Learning Benefit, New Study Finds

ALN organization, CMU's Architecture Explorations program, provided enrichment activities for PPS's Summer Dreamers Academy, one of several summer programs part of a study that reveals attendance critical to improvement in math and reading.