About Strada

Strada means “street” in Italian. Streets matter to us. They’re the fundamental infrastructure of our cities and the core of our civic lives. They’re the connections between buildings, people, and public spaces. This is why we’re so inspired by them and it’s a shared commitment to these values that brought our principals together. Just as people mingle on city streets, our office is a place where we freely exchange ideas, challenging and inspiring one another to create exceptional work.

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Although we work out of two separate offices, we are one team.




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Street Talk

Fresh ideas about design

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Designing for stormwater, naturally.

07.2014Design, Ideas
By Claudia Saladin

“April showers bring May flowers” goes the saying. But often those showers also bring flooding and “combined sewer overflow events,” where stormwater mixes with untreated sewage in old combination sewers and flows untreated into our rivers and streams. These problems have increased over time through an abundance of paving and buildings, too little green space, and too little thought given to what happens to the water when it rains.

Flooding from stormwater can pose serious public safety problems, in addition to contributing to poor water quality and the degradation of our streams and rivers. Until recently the way to deal with these issues was to build a giant pond, typically on the perimeter of the property. Often acres of woodlands, nature’s best stormwater management device, are cut down to make room for detention ponds. They collect all the stormwater from a site into one place, allowing it to flow into rivers and streams over time rather than all at once. Because they are periodically inundated with large volumes of dirty, polluted water, they have to been fenced in and warning signs posted.

Traditional detention basins contribute little to a sense of place. (http://sites.lafayette.edu/brandesd/files/2010/08/baddesign.jpg)

Traditional detention basins contribute little to a sense of place. (http://sites.lafayette.edu/brandesd/files/2010/08/baddesign.jpg)

Increasingly, designers and planners are turning to something called “green infrastructure.” Green infrastructure—which includes rain gardens, green roofs and porous pavers—seeks to address stormwater through many small interventions closer to the site where rain falls. It seeks to mimic the way natural systems deal with stormwater by using plants and soils, and encouraging infiltration on site.

Green infrastructure can also work in urban settings. (http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/images/Green-Street-Planters.jpg)

Green infrastructure can also work in urban settings.

Perhaps most important from a design and place-making perspective is that green infrastructure can be integrated into the design of public and private spaces. For instance, rain garden tree planters located along streets, rather than off to the side, can provide shade and beauty as well as stormwater mitigation. Rather than being dangerous and fenced off, they can serve as amenities that also screen and slow traffic. Interventions like these make a street a place in the city and not only a way of getting from point A to point B.

Green infrastructure in a residential setting. (http://www.asla.org/sustainablelandscapes/images/greenstreet/GreenStreet_7.jpg)

Green infrastructure in a residential setting. (http://www.asla.org/sustainablelandscapes/images/greenstreet/GreenStreet_7.jpg)

Green infrastructure presents new challenges for designers, contractors and regulators. It requires us to work and collaborate in new interdisciplinary ways. The results, however, are worth the challenges.

To learn more about some of Strada’s green infrastructure projects, please see Rivers Casino and Riverfront Park, Bakery Square Master Plan, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Top image: The top photo illustrates how green infrastructure helps screen traffic and create safe pedestrian places, in addition to mitigating stormwater impacts. (http://www.asla.org/greenstreet/img/GreenStreetBagbySt-1.jpg)

Claudia Saladin is a Landscape Architect at Strada. When not working on green infrastructure projects at Strada she enjoys working in her own garden, volunteering in her community to plan and maintain public places and plantings, and working with Grow Pittsburgh to promote urban agriculture.

Cross-Office Collaboration

05.2019Design, Ideas, People
By Aaron Bell, RA

Although we work out of two separate offices, we are one team.


By Street Talk Editor

“I have wanted to be an Architect since I was thirteen,” Jesse noted. “Having my dream job is something I never take for granted. My expertise lies in the craft of Architecture, and that has been my focus since I was a student. I've always been passionate about detail, and I think ahead on how to make intricate details a reality from the initial concept.”