Location, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Structural Engineer: Astorino
Sustainability Consultant: Paladino & Company
Contractor: P.J. Dick
Project Area: 750,000sqf
Project Year: 2009
Setting the stage for Pittsburgh to become a representation of intellectual, sustainable urban growth, Three PNC Plaza is a 750,000 square foot, 23-story mixed-use development designed by Gensler. The LEED Gold registered project is comprised of a Fairmont Hotel, offices, residential condominiums, ground-floor retail and below-grade parking. Recently, International law firm Reed Smith moved their corporate headquarters into the building as their signage adorns the structure’s top floors. These divers programmatic typologies within a single project in downtown Pittsburgh at the intersection of the commercial and cultural corridors of Fifth and Liberty, generates interminable activity, enhancing the vigor of the city’s urban core.
PNC is a keystone of commerce in Pittsburgh, a city which had not seen a new tower in its downtown core in more than 20 years. This project presented the opportunity to activate and revitalize the heart of the city. To that end, the aesthetic and conceptual notion of stitching was the basis of the project’s design. On the facade, disparate programmatic elements including hotel, condominiums, office, and retail, are reflected in distinct facade materials, all of which are stitched into a balance, singe structure.
Curtainwall glazing visually distinguishes the programmatic elements of the building. For example, crystal-clear glazing for the condominiums create a “jewel-box” effect, differentiating them from offices and hotel, whose low-E-glazing offers enhanced energy efficiency, and is identified by a green tint.
Office and hotel floor plates feature highly efficient core layouts and optimal lease and planning spans. Upper levels of the office floor are defined by a large horizontal notch expression that ties the space to an outdoor roof garden. The condo units are separated from the hotel rooms that share the same floor plate but are located in the portion of the building with optimal views and daylight.
At the ground level, the design goal was to activate street life by creating a vibrant environment. Lobbies for the office, hotel, and residential portions of the project are all open to the street, and are interconnected. Literally and figuratively, the design stitches the program of the buildings interior to the urban fabric.
The lobby features a dramatic high ceiling that ushers in abundant natural light, a sculptural front desk that echoes the angular quality of the building facade, and an asymmetric grand staircase leading to a restaurant located above the front desk.
Striving to create a locally authentic experience, the design team was guided by the theme “Art & Industry.” Local steel and glass can be found in design details throughout the hotel and in works by local artists such as the dramatic ballroom chandelier and glass pendant fixtures in the lobby and bar. Artifacts from the 1800′s discovered during building excavation were incorporated into the hotel’s design and are displayed in key locations throughout the hotel.