by Laura Tenny, ASLA
University of Pittsburgh: Hillside Framework Plan, SCUP Honorable Mention Award Winner for “Excellence in Planning for a District or Campus Component”
Most of us are familiar with ASLA national and chapter awards for landscape architecture. Did you know that the Society for College and University Planners (SCUP) awards “Design Excellence” prizes to landscape architecture projects? Selected by a jury of industry professionals, the award-winning projects showcase exceptional planning and design work being done by landscape architects engaged in the realm of higher education campuses. This year, for the Campus Planning & Design PPN’s annual post for The Field on SCUP award highlights, we feature work at the University of Pittsburgh, by DAVID RUBIN Land Collective. I spoke with Founding Principal David A. Rubin, FASLA, and his University project partner, Mary Beth McGrew, to learn more about this transformative project.
Pittsburgh is a city of hills and rivers, and home to the University of Pittsburgh, affectionally known as “U. Pitt.” The Hillside District of U. Pitt comprises more than 400 vertical feet of grade change over a 68-acre site. The steep topography of Hillside distinguishes it from the lower, more urban campus. Despite the dramatic setting, Hillside lacked a strong sense of place or identity before the framework plan. A series of capital projects at U. Pitt brought increased visibility to the challenges of siting buildings that needed to navigate significant grade change, with the accompanying challenges of circulation, access, drainage, and connectivity between the upper and lower parts of campus.