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chatham university IAR 650 Lauren Everett

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About the project


Research & Background

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site analysis & Programming floor plans diagrams & renderings


about the project

Manifesto The North Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh showcases an interesting combination of urban demographics. On one hand, the area houses long term residents ranging in profession and financial status. On the other hand, the area supports a large number of transient residents which stay for an average of six years before moving on. This juxtaposition creates a push and pull between the two very distinct groups. Permanent residents of the area want to see the area f lourish and become a sustainable and dynamic moment within the urban landscape of Pittsburgh. Transient residents, mainly undergraduate and graduate students from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, have different needs for their neighborhood. Immediate access to the universities and low cost of living are generally high priority among this group as well as access to entertainment and food. Regardless of how different these two user groups may seem, there is potential to provide spaces that integrate the two residents while creating an interactive, functional, dynamic area based on innovative programming that takes into account the current industries and economies of North Oakland, the East End


of Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh as a whole. The main conceptual focus within the proposed mixed use development in North Oakland would be built restorative environments. Restorative environments can be considered any moment or place that initiate relief from stressors or burdens. These pressures can be cognitive, physiological, or physical and can provide an array of benefits to the user ranging from decreased aggression to increased wellness. Building restorative environments into high-density, mixed use urban developments would create healthier spaces for all of the users. By properly combining current research in restorative environments throughout this mixed use development, it has the potential to effect a large array of individuals, including transient (student) residents, office workers, youth, visitors, and permanent residents. By lessening the negative aspects on residents’ lives, this could in turn affect the neighborhood as a whole. Historically, the North Oakland area of Pittsburgh was a retreat from the industrial heart of downtown. People were able to escape to the East End to enjoy urban amenities, such as music halls and museums, without the dirt and pollution of the mills. Even today Oakland holds a similar relationship to Downtown Pittsburgh. While people and

businesses are not leaving Downtown to avoid pollution, there are commodities present in Oakland that are not elsewhere in the city. Examples of these are higher education, young professionals, and technological innovation. This creates the same draw toward Oakland that previously existed. Pairing the current draw of innovation and technology with a renewed understanding of Oakland being a restorative environment, North Oakland could become a place that is enjoyable to live and work for both young professionals and long-term permanent residents. The main forms of commerce in Pittsburgh focus on the education, healthcare, and technology. These industries are responsible for shaping the current image of Pittsburgh as well as helping to guide the future of the city. Interestingly, all of these industries are present in the neighborhood of North Oakland. Creating a site in which these industries can co-exist and mutually benefit from one another, would help North Oakland become a dynamic, integrated neighborhood with a unique identity. Providing new environments for these industry groups within North Oakland would additionally create spaces to integrate to two seemingly distinct user groups of residents and students. The manner in which the Craig and Center section of

North Oakland is currently used lacks many characteristics that make a successful, high density, mixed-use urban environment. Within close proximity to the site, there are various examples of Pittsburgh current industries. By linking existing examples of industry throughout the Baum-Centre corridor to the Centre and Craig site, the site has the ability to become an innovative mixed-use development that has foundations in what is familiar and successful within Pittsburgh. For example, the Hillman Cancer Center is immediately up the street from the proposed sites near Centre and Craig. Providing a supportive function to the Hillman Cancer Center in the new, mixed use development, such as patient apartments, would achieve two goals. First, providing patients a service that is not currently offered would positively affect the reputation of the facility. Second, this would create a reason for a new group to use the North Oakland area which in turn provides reasoning for programming for additional supportive services within the new mixeduse development. Another example would be providing a new co-working office space for the North Oakland community. A co-working space would provide the resources to young professionals to create start-ups without the high cost of personal office rentals. While other co-working spaces currently exist in

Pittsburgh, one located in North Oakland would provide a resource to entrepreneurial college students and community residents. The space would pull interest from other neighborhoods, similarly to patient apartments for the Hillman Centre. Additionally, the space would help provide an identity to the area that would be desirable for young professionals. This, in turn, could help the North Oakland neighborhood grow its young permanent resident base. While these are only two examples using Pittsburgh’s current industries for foundational programming in a new mixed use development, other industries could have similar applications. A mixed use development would also provide space for cross generational interaction and education that would enable a stronger feeling of integration between the two residents groups. A variety of potential interactions could take place. For example young adults could provide technology assistance to the community in return for co-working rental fees. Community residents could host events or teach classes in these spaces in topics that are interesting to youth and young adults. Additionally, youth could provide elderly assistance through the form of reading or crafting together. Cross generational interactions such as these would bolster the

feeling of a community while also helping the more transient student demographic feel more purposeful and integrated into the area. North Oakland has immense potential to further anchor the East End of Pittsburgh as an innovative, desirable location to live and work. For this potential to be realized it is crucial to provide the area with standard services, such as a grocer, with in the neighborhood. Additionally, finding a way to reorient the bulk of the area’s population from transient students to young professionals would help in founding the identity of the area in industries that Pittsburgh is already renowned for. For the first time in decades, the “brain drain” effect in Pittsburgh has reversed. College graduates, for the first time, have started choosing to stay in Pittsburgh. North Oakland should be the epicenter of the transition. While other neighborhoods in Pittsburgh are already heavily identified as “trendy” or “up and coming,” those titles also come with raising real estate prices that are unobtainable for many young professionals and families. With the right programming and development of a high density, mixed use business district, North Oakland has the potential to become a microcosm of Pittsburgh’s industries anchored by a multi-generational, sustainable community.

Historic North Oakland






Luna Park

Building Atherton Bridge (now Baum), 1912

View of Oakland, around 1905

Centre & Melwood, 1950

4635 Centre Avenue


Site analysis N

Site Orientation

Site Topography

Views and Potential Green Space


Pedestrian Traffic




Programming & Concept


floor plans

FIrst level


second level

third level




townhouse renderings

auditorium renderings

& diagrams




& diagrams


L Everett - Interior Architecture - Thesis Project  

Urban Redevelopment and Interior Architecture Design Masters Thesis

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