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High Point Park

How can Pittsburgh use this most prominent of platforms?

Rising 841 feet above Grant Street, the US Steel Tower’s triangular roof is the largest roof for a building of its height in the world, and has nearly an acre of rooftop. evolveEA was engaged to develop a strategy for the audacious project of turning the roof into a park in the sky–the highest, largest roof park in the world. As a “first day” visitor’s attraction for the view and location, the roof would also be a park that showcases the innovation in green technologies and materials.
evolveEA established the design and technical parameters and outlined a robust community engagement process using a design competition as a catalyst. In addition to the communications strategy to explain the process, we collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University to run a competition that solicited entries for design innovation and the supporting business case.

As former travel editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, David Bear had a unique understanding of visitor attractions when he conceived of a park on the top of the city’s tallest building. evolveEA collaborated with him to envision what could be one of the most dramatic public spaces in the world and a highly visible showcase of innovation in green technologies. We helped David lead a core team of advisors through a process that created a vision for the project, identified key issues and collaborators and developed different processes that could bring the project to fruition.

To communicate the process, evolveEA created a graphic presentation to emphasize how to build community engagement that will support and sustain the work. High Point is intended to be a high-visibility facility that will become a rallying point for many constituencies: the political sector, civic advocates, the tourism community, downtown boosters, providers and manufacturers of the energy and solar sectors, and green building interests. Communication of the project’s potential value is critical and the concepts and graphics were designed to be a tool for engaging possible public, corporate and foundation funders.

To transform the project from an individual vision to a project embraced by an entire city, we advocated for a design competition process at a national level. To develop the material and knowledge necessary to run such a process, we collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University’s Studio for Creative Inquiry, School of Architecture, and Heinz School‘s Institute for Social Innovation to organize a design and Case Competition. The competition had over 200 students collaborating on entries that included imaginative design backed with comprehensive business plans.

Great projects start with great ideas, but are backed up with innovative strategic planning. evolveEA helped the High Point project create and refine the concept of a park in the sky, plan for how it could be executed, and build a constituency that is needed to make it happen.