The gym at Ace Hotel preserves the building's history but gives guests modern amenities. Photo by Massery Photography Inc.

A coffee kiosk built from waste material. A boutique hotel that preserves the characteristics of a century-old YMCA building. A much-needed urgent care center and space for maker studios in Braddock’s once-thriving commercial district. And the first Carnegie Mellon University building to directly engage with Oakland’s rough-and-tumble streetscape.

These and other building projects won the 2017 AIA Pittsburgh “Design with Purpose” awards, which celebrate “the places and people who make a difference through good design,” during the annual event held at the August Wilson Center Thursday night.

The American Institute of Architects honors winners, and recognizes runners-up with certificates of merit, in five categories: Design + Innovation; Historic Preservation; Regional + Urban Design; Interior Design; and Architecture (two winners).

Here’s a look at this year’s winning local projects:

This mobile, adaptable coffee kiosk is built from waste material. Photo by Urban Design Build Studio.

1) Design + Innovation Honor Award: First Course Café

Location: 7800 Susquehanna St.

Architecture firm: Urban Design Build Studio

Design team: John Folan, AIA; Alise Kuwahara Day, UDBS Fellow

Student designers: Garrett Rauck; Candace Ju; Yoon Ho Oh; Sophie Nahrmann; Kelsey Simpson; Anthony Nitche; Rachel Muse; Matthew Lin; Connor Smith

Contractors: PROJECT RE_, Trade Institute of Pittsburgh Apprentice Training Program

Intent: This mobile, adaptable coffee kiosk built from waste material has provided a low-barrier opportunity for entrepreneurship. It is composed of modular, pre-fabricated carts, each with a specific function. It operates in a warehouse lobby, providing food and coffee for the building’s tenants.

Certificates of Merit:

Penn51 Façade (by mossArchitects and P2 Contracting, LLC);

RE_DEMPTION: A Wall that Unites, for client The Heinz Endowments (by Urban Design Build Studio and PROJECT RE_, Trade Institute of Pittsburgh Apprentice Training Program and Mascaro Construction).

The Ace Hotel melded the history of a century-old YMCA with modern amenities. Photo by Massery Photography Inc.

2) Historic Preservation Honor Award: ACE Hotel

Location: 120 S. Whitfield St.

Architecture firm: mossArchitects with Wildman Chalmers Design, LLC

Design team: Andrew Moss, AIA; Chad Chalmers, AIA; Nathaniel Rice; Elijah Dolly

Engineers: Atlantic Engineering Services; Loftus Engineers, LLC

Contractors: P.J. Dick Incorporated

Intent: The designers integrated a hotel with modern amenities into the former YMCA building, circa 1910, designed by architect Thomas Hannah, while preserving its characteristics. A state historic tax credit was key to successfully transforming the building, which was vacant for more than a decade. The team was mindful of preserving the history of the community, since many neighboring East Liberty developments prior to this project were criticized for erasing community history.

Certificates of Merit:

Aspinwall Marina, for client Aspinwall Riverfront Park (Fisher ARCHitecture, Environmental Planning & Design, Loftus Engineers, LLC and R D Stewart Company);

Union Trust Building, for client The Davis Companies (Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, Elkins Manfredi Architects, Wessling Architects, CJL Engineering, Atlantic Engineering Services and Mascaro Construction).

Trek Development Group’s 501 Braddock provides valuable commercial space on Braddock Avenue.
Trek Development Group’s 501 Braddock provides valuable commercial space on Braddock Avenue.

3) Regional + Urban Design Honor Award: 501 Braddock

Location: Braddock Avenue

Architecture firm: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative

Design Team: Mike Gwin, AIA; Ken Doyno, AIA; Drew Mosher, AIA; Melanie Buzgan Dower, AIA; Daniel Tse, Arthur Notaro, Assoc. AIA; Kim Rullo

Engineers: AWK Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Atlantic Engineering Services; Iams Consulting, LLC

Contractors: Mistick Construction

Intent: Braddock’s commercial district deteriorated over time, especially after the 2010 closing of a regional hospital along Braddock Avenue. This new mixed-use building provides commercial space along the community’s main street, housing an urgent care center, retail space and live/work maker studios.

Certificate of Merit: 8th Street Park, for client Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (GBBN Architects, Origin 4 Design, Sci-Tek Consultants, Inc. and Flyspace Productions).

The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh has programming for people released from incarceration. Photo by Urban Design Build Studio.

4) Interior Architecture Honor Award: Trade Institute of Pittsburgh

Location: 7800 Susquehanna St.

Architecture firm: Urban Design Build Studio

Design team: John Folan, AIA; Alise Kuwahara Day, UDBS Fellow; Student Designers: Zach Bauer, Chris Chan, Matt Dawson, Dan Gehr, Laleh Gharanjik, J William Gott, Shaohua Guan, Kevin Hyun, Sandra Kalanyan, Jason Kim, Ying Lin, Runyu Li, Harris Mazur, Jess Rinn, Sharon Rubin, Ziwen Shen, Xiaoxi Song, Kyle Woltersdorf, Chiaowei Yu

Engineers: Newcomer Refrigeration & HVAC, Bella Electrical Services

Contractors: Trade Institute of Pittsburgh, PROJECT RE_

Intent: The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh is the headquarters of a nonprofit apprentice training program for individuals re-entering society after incarceration. Designers played a compositional game to balance simple building systems with the assets of the warehouse space and the program requirements. They completed design and construction on schedule and to a budget of $37/square foot, allowing the Institute to expand its capacity for critical programming.

Certificates of Merit:

Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream (DeNinno Architects, LLC, Iams Consulting, LLC, Adam Milliron Studio, Facility Support Services, LLC and Linkrist Construction, Inc.);

Sorrells Library, Carnegie Mellon University (GBBN Architects, Allen & Shariff and Mosites Construction);

Mindful Brewing Company (mossArchitects, Tait Engineering, Schneider Engineering, LLC, WNA Engineering, and P2 Contracting LLC);

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy: Fallingwater Visitor Center Restroom Renovation (Pfaffmann + Associates, Iams Consulting, LLC and Sota Construction Services, Inc.). 

Frick Environmental Center is a living building that allows people to immerse themselves in nature. Photo by Nic Lehoux.

5) Architecture Honor Award: Frick Environmental Center

Location: 2005 Beechwood Blvd.

Architecture firm: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Design team: Michael Maiese, AIA; Robert Aumer, AIA; Patricia Culley, AIA; Michele Mercer; Jason Brody, AIA; Gina Rossi

Engineers: Barber & Hoffman, H.F. Lenz Company, RAM-TECH Engineers

Contractors: P.J. Dick Incorporated

Intent: This living classroom for environmental education provides hands-on opportunities to experience nature and learn about sustainable design. Porous indoor and outdoor spaces showcase panoramic views and provide multi-sensory learning experiences for students of all ages. The natural urban refuge includes an outdoor amphitheater.

Cohon University Center on Forbes Avenue engages with Pittsburgh’s streetscape. Photo by Scott Frances.
Cohon University Center on Forbes Avenue engages with Pittsburgh’s streetscape. Photo by Scott Frances.

Architecture Honor Award: Cohon University Center

Location: 5032 Forbes Ave.

Architecture firm: CannonDesign with LGA Partners

Design team: Philippe Dordai, AIA; John Reed; Demos Simatos; Don Reeves; Patrick Delahoy; Michael Corb, AIA

Engineers: CannonDesign, Pennoni Associates

Contractors: Mosites Construction Company

Intent: This “new front door” for Carnegie Mellon University’s campus is the first building to engage with the rough-and-tumble Forbes Avenue. As the campus expands down Forbes to the new Tepper Quad, this side of campus needed to open itself up to the street and city beyond. The designers established the standard for the new landscape treatment for Forbes Avenue and accommodated a large outdoor service yard. The addition takes design cues (materials, proportions, placemaking, etc.) from existing campus architecture, but in a contemporary fashion.

Certificates of Merit:

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Byham Center for Dance (IKM Incorporated, Allen & Shariff, Atlantic Engineering Services, Inc., The Gateway Engineers, Inc., and Jendoco Construction Company);

Penn Mathilda Apartments, for client ACTION-Housing, Inc. (mossArchitects, Iams Consulting, LLC, Schneider Engineering, LLC, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services and Repal Construction);

F41, for client Fort Willow Developers (Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, Atlantic Engineering Services, Allen & Shariff, Clearstory, Caruso Design Group, and PJ Dick Incorporated);

UATC Research Center, for client Uber Advanced Technologies Group (Strada Architecture, LLC, WNA Engineering, Atlantic Engineering Services, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, and Continental Building Company);

East Liberty Bike Shelter, for client Eastside Limited Partnership III (Studio for Spatial Practice, Design Collective, Suhrie Engineering, LLC, and Mosites Construction Company);

Superior Motors, for client Kevin Sousa (Studio for Spatial Practice, BDA Engineering, Inc., Herron Engineering, Suhrie Engineering, LLC, and Absolute Win).

See all winners of Design Pittsburgh 2017.

Sandra Tolliver

Sandra Tolliver is a freelance writer, editor and public relations professional in Upper St. Clair.