Whether you are someone who works in the design space as an interior decorator or architect, or a lover of Pittsburgh and its cityscape, join us in celebrating the architecture of our city this week! For the first time, Pittsburgh’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is hosting a week-long celebration of our city’s rich architectural history and exciting future! Kicking off yesterday, this 7-day event series is packed with different experiences! Join Pittsburgh’s AIA Chapter along with their sister organization, the Pittsburgh Architecture Foundation (PAF), at their 16 different events being held through October 2nd.
If you’re not familiar with AIA or PAF, allow us to tell you a little about these local organizations! AIA is a nationwide organization for professionals in the design space, with a local chapter here in Pittsburgh. This group focuses on continuing education units, design award events, educating future architects, and more in the professional realm. PAF focuses more on engaging the public on architecture. One of PAF’s initiatives that we love is their local storefront design assistance. By working with little mom-and-pop shops, PAF can provide new storefront lighting, aesthetics, and other design elements such as outdoor seating to these shops with their professional expertise!
Now let’s dive into the actual week of events! This is the inaugural week for this exciting series but will be an annual occurrence moving forward. With the collaborative efforts of 14 organizations including Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museum of Art Hall of Architecture, in-person and virtual events are available to accommodate your schedule! Some events are free of charge and others range from an affordable $10-20, thanks to all of the collaborating organizations and businesses and their generosity.
One of our favorite parts of this week is the free admission to the behind-the-scenes tour of the Hall of Architecture! Right here in the city of Pittsburgh, the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art is the ONLY museum in North America with a certain type of casting. They have an incredible collection of architectural castings, actually the largest in the country, including centuries-old castings from Europe. The Architectural Hall was even inspired by one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Check out this remarkable gem of Pittsburgh for free this Thursday from 5:30-7:30 pm. Register for free ahead of time here!
While the Hall of Architecture focuses on historical design, there will be a lot of events throughout the week focusing on the future as well! Events geared towards children like “Learn How to Think Like an Architect and Design a Space” have interactive elements with model making and drawing for kids with creative minds! Who knows, they might even be the future architects of Pittsburgh! Conversational events will also be held to discuss the modern preservation of buildings and public art displays in and around the city like Modern Survey / Greater Pittsburgh – A Series of digital guides to Modern 20th-century architecture, public art, and design in our city and region, curated by the Pittsburgh Modern Committee on October 2nd!
When we spoke with one of the staff members that has worked on planning this incredible event, she said that the true purpose of this series is to get the people of Pittsburgh talking about architecture. Architecture is one of the most public of the arts to the point that we almost forget to appreciate it. In every building, street, courtyard, park, and public space, architecture is at play. Often architecture is thought of as buildings, but it’s the full experience of how a space makes you feel that goes into the design!
The beauty of the Mexican War Streets is one thing we discussed specifically. The feel of the neighborhood with stunning mansions, foliage, street lamps, and more creates an experience. Knowing what you love about a space is a way to consciously appreciate architecture. A fun session being held on Sunday from 1:30-2:30 pm is a panel discussion at the Pittsburgh Fall Home Show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Titled ”How and When to Work with an Architect”, this session will cover the basics of working with an architect on renovations or building something new. Leading residential architects in the area will answer questions about how to prepare and collaborate best with your architect! They will also cover common costly mistakes and how to make the most of your property.
With tours, panel discussions, children’s activities, and virtual events, there is truly something for everyone in this week of celebrations! The hopes are that after this week, the conversation will continue throughout the year. The pride that the city of Chicago has with its signature “architecture tour” can be something the city of Pittsburgh has as well. From the beautiful neighborhoods to the large churches and museums, architecture is intertwined in all aspects of our everyday lives! Check out the full schedule of events for the week by visiting the event website.