Fisher ARCHitecture teamed in the spring of 2016 with developer, Susan Crookston, and the Aspinwall Riverfront Park, Inc. to renovate the existing Aspinwall Marina into an AIA award winning community Welcome Center that celebrates both nature and Pittsburgh’s industrial heritage. When a river courses through a plane for six million years, the resulting canyon reveals fossils and minerals. When you subtract the clouds from the sky, the sun shines. In each of these circumstances, subtraction clarifies an entity, laying bare a more natural pre-existing condition. So it is with the Marina. Subtraction reveals essence: The act of demolishing the newer buildings on the site has restored the project to a simpler, more natural state. Now the remaining buildings are free to act both as objects, marking the edge of the water from afar, and also as filters, creating framed views of their surroundings for visitors.
AJ Schwartz and the team at“Environmental Planning and Design” has designed the surrounding park with skill, elegance, and refinement. Also, many thanks are due to Loftus Engineering and to our contractor, the RD Stewart Company, for making Phase 1 of this remarkable project happen with strong craft on an extremely tight budget.
As a pioneer for grassroots community greening efforts, the Aspinwall Riverfront Park and Marina have proven to be a resourceful model for their sustainability, their role as a social hub, and their use of limited space to provide multiple experiences. The campus has captured the public’s imagination as one of the most innovative greenspaces in the Pittsburgh region.