Our friends from Weiss/Manfredi have shared their Portal to the Point Design Ideas Exploration proposal, a project exploring the connection between city and the environment for Point State Park in the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Currently, Point State Park, which is located at the geographic epicenter of Pittsburgh, does not take advantage of its potential to bridge the city, which is built on industrial accomplishments, with the river banks of the Allegheny and the Monogahela, both of which have granted Pittsburgh a prosperous ecological history. Weiss/Manfredi’s proposal attempts to stitch the city and its river banks together with a new brigde typology, a Mobius Pathway that is “not about the singular act of connecting two disparate parts, but about the comprehensive connectivity of a larger network.” More about the Mobius Pathway after the break.
By proposing to unify the extreme conditions of Pittsburgh, the project will create a transformative visitor experience that sheds light upon the site’s history, in terms of looking back at its ecological past, while also projecting forward a legacy of continued innovation.
“We see the Portal to the Point as the catalytic convergence of Pittsburgh’s urban, cultural, and natural ecologies. The Portal becomes the center point of a new Mobius Pathway, a wandering compass that connects the city to the park and the park to the river. The Mobius Pathway exemplifies the continuities and intersections between Pittsburgh’s legacy of technical innovation and natural environment, becoming the stimulus for a larger network of opportunities,” explained the architects.
The pathway will offer an ecological experience as visitors will move through orchards and wetlands, and enjoy views from “The Overlook.” In addition to the naturally sculpted landscape, certain technological aspects will be incorporated that will reference the city’s innovative side, such as the Portal, a non-contact monitoring system that measures river movement. Plus, the Mobius Bridge which connects the two sides of the park, pays homage to ”The City of Bridges,” the birthplace of modern glass, aluminum, and wire rope industries, with its tensile cable construction and crystalline glass canopy. The bridge will extends to a linear garden leading to the new Gateway Plaza Subway Station and “create a legible landmark to technical innovation at the heart of the park.”
Two natural amphitheaters are defined by the continuous “S” shape of the mobius path, and these terraces are crafted with materials that invoke the site’s historic cultural geology, from the fossil beds and coal seams that underlay the modern city, to materials that recall Pittsburgh’s early industrial heritage and the greenery of today’s living city.
By enhancing the site’s natural topography, Point State Park aims to create a dynamic venue where formal and informal public recreation and cultural events can take advantage of the opportunities the natural landscape provides.