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Finalists Selected in Portal To The Point Project; SPRINGBOARD is Project Advisor

Portal to the Point: A Design Ideas Exploration is an ‘Idea Generation Project’ funded by Colcom Foundation.

Five multi-disciplinary teams have been selected to focus on public art and design in Point State Park.

 “The history of the United States, in fact, and of other parts of the world, was changed by events that occurred at or near the forks of the Ohio in the years 1749–1758.”  Robert Alberts, The Shaping of the Point

Point State Park has a long, celebrated and, at times, contentious history.  The most visible landmark in Pittsburgh, it is the subject of countless photographs of the city.  It is a place of paramount importance to the history of the United States, once a significant historical crossing and battleground, a symbol of resistance and independence.  Today, it is the city’s focal point for recreation, celebration and enjoyment, the site of festivals, concerts and regattas.  What will the next generation make of Point State Park? 

Colcom Foundation has stepped forward to fund an exploration of the form, function, artistic elements and interpretative design of Point State Park’s Portal Bridge and the area immediately around it.  The foundation is pleased to announce the selection of five award-winning teams – located all across the United States – to develop innovative visions for this section of the Park. 

The selection of the five creative teams was made from North American architects, landscape architects, designers and artists invited to submit their qualifications.  The five selected teams (and their members) are:

Marlon Blackwell Architect, Fayetteville, Arkansas – www.marlonblackwell.com -– Marlon Blackwell;                Kendall Buster, Guy Nordenson & Associates, dlandstudio, Renfro Design Group

MAYA Design, Pittsburgh, PA – www.maya.com – Dutch MacDonald;
The Gray Circle

SCAPE / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, New York, NY – www.scapestudio.com – Kate Orff;
The Living

 Weiss/Manfredi, New York, NY – www.weissmanfredi.com – Marion Weiss, Michael Manfredi;
Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Green Shield Ecology, Mark Dion

wHY Architecture, Culver City, CA – www.why-architecture.com – Kulupat Yantrasast;
Reed Hilderbrand, WET Design        

An Advisory Committee, which consists of nationally-recognized architects, artists, educators and CEOs, as well as key stakeholders, was convened to assist in reviewing the qualifications submissions and offer selection recommendations.  The committee includes:

Robert Bingham                  Professor, School of Art, Carnegie Mellon University

Tom Borellis                         Assistant to the V.P. for Administration and Finance for Special Projects;                              Director  of Student Housing Projects, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Laura Fisher                         Senior Vice President, Special Projects, Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Andre Kimo Stone Guess   President and CEO, August Wilson Center for African American Culture

John Hallas                           Regional State Park Manager, DCNR

Timothy Inglis                       President, Colcom Foundation

Jules Labarthe AIA               Founding Principal, The Design Alliance

Stephen Lee                         Head, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University

Mary Martin                          Visual Arts Instructor, Winchester Thurston School

Andrew Masich                    President and CEO, Senator John Heinz History Center

Renee Piechocki                 Director, Office of Public Art, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

Raymund Ryan                     Curator, Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art

Lynda Waggoner Executive Director, Fallingwater

The Portal Bridge is an elevated highway thoroughfare that bisects the park north to south and leads to bridges that span the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.  The focus of this project is the space underneath this overpass (a dramatic, modern space) and a deliberately undefined area surrounding the portal. 

“We see Point State Park as the city’s crown jewel,” says Colcom Foundation President Tim Inglis, who views Portal to the Point as “an artistic statement to stir the imagination.”  This art and design exploration may incorporate historical interpretation of the site, as well as consider the multiple impact forces, including PennDOT requirements, the existing ‘wind tunnel’ effect, seasonal climate variations, structural integrity, accessible design, and the coupling of artistic and interpretative elements appropriate to the site’s location and function.

Springboard will host a two-day workshop meeting in Pittsburgh, with representatives from each teams. These representatives will explore the city and the site, meet with the Advisory Committee, and discuss the project parameters and aspirations.  The teams will then develop their design proposals and ideas, for submission on presentation boards and electronically, by October 10, 2011.    

Portal to the Point is focused purely on the development of ideas.  Whether or not one of the proposals is commissioned is ultimately outside the scope of this exploration. 

To facilitate public feedback and information about the explorations, a public exhibition of the finalists’ presentations will be displayed at multiple Pittsburgh locations to be determined.  Accompanying the exhibition will be a public symposium by the participating teams, and a book to document the process and the results.  The book will be available online and will establish an extended platform for the dissemination of information about the project.

Please address all questions to the Project Advisor, Paul Rosenblatt AIA at Springboard Design – paul@springboarddesign.net.

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