Fresh ideas about design
A chilly ceremony on Valentine’s Day marked the official groundbreaking for a very significant project at Strada, Bakery Square 2.0. The focus throughout this project has been to build on the success of the first part of Bakery Square and create a complete neighborhood where people could live, work, and play within one tightly knit community.
Towards this end, Bakery Square 2.0 will establish a commercial and residential density on the site of the decommissioned Reizenstein School in keeping with adjacent neighborhoods like East Liberty and Shadyside. It will have architectural and spatial variety, with rich and colorful building facades framing green spaces and bike path connections. People who move into Bakery Living – the residential building slated to open in 2014 – will be able to walk across the street to work (or work out). They will be able to walk to the Trader Joe’s grocery store in about 6 minutes, or to the Ellsworth Avenue commercial district in about fifteen.
Last Thursday, however, as political leaders and developers lined up for a photo op, their golden spades pointed towards an important if less glamorous area of the project: the dirt. Bakery Square 2.0 is designed to have one of the most comprehensive green infrastructure systems of any neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Partly funded by a $2 million federal grant (which Walnut Capital and the URA worked to secure last year) the new neighborhood will flex its infrastructure vocabulary with bioswales, rain gardens, and porous paving, not to mention a bioretention area that will cover the entire Event Lawn. These vary in their materials and construction, but they are all ground-based systems that slow and filter stormwater runoff.
Since the City of Pittsburgh is saddled with an antiquated combined storm and sanitary sewer system – meaning that heavy rains can cause untreated sewage to flow into rivers and creeks – it is important for new developments to incorporate environmentally-sensitive infrastructure that reduces stormwater flows. Strada’s riverfront project at the Rivers Casino incorporated such strategies, but it is even more significant to be able to implement green infrastructure on the neighborhood scale.
Collectively, the design and construction industry has risen to the challenge and we’re diligently doing our part in reducing the amount of waste generated, however statistics don’t lie… We still have a long way to go!
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