Pittsburgh Convention Center (David L. Lawrence)

Photo credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly Architects

The first LEED-certified convention center in North America and the largest green building in the world, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center was designed by the world-renowned architect Rafael Vinoly and was commissioned by ABP. This Pittsburgh convention center is a 1.5 -million-square-foot, sail shaped structure with a column-free exhibit hall. Located in one of the world’s top 20 Great Places To Yisit In 2012, as named  by National Geographic Traveler, the cutting-edge Convention Center features a 4,500-ton central chiller plant, a natural ventilation system, natural lighting, and sophisticated water efficiency systems.

$373 Million New Construction- 1.45M total sf four-story convention center

Owner: Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
Architect: Rafael Viñoly
MEP Engineer: Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates
General Contractor: Turner Construction/ P J Dick/ Advanced Technology Systems, Inc.

Address: 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Completion Date:
2003

Photo credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly Architects
Photo credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly Architects
Photo credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly Architects
Photo credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly Architects
Photo credit: Raphael Viñoly ArchitectsPhoto credit: Raphael Viñoly Architects


Truly a masterpiece of green design, the Center was built on an urban brownfield on the bank of the Allegheny River. Fresh, cool air from the river cools and ventilates the center, entering through louvers and creating a zero-cost air conditioning system that the center utilizes 25 percent of the year. A cooling system using cascading water on the roof, and a low-temperature air supply system minimizes ductwork, fan capacity and energy consumption. Water conservation features such as the aquifer below the Center and a grey-water reclamation plant have proven a 66% reduction in purchased water comparable to similar-sized convention centers.

Seventy-five percent of the entire building is naturally lit. The skylit, glass-walled Main Hall is 100% naturally lit, as is 75% of the remaining building space.  Exterior reflective materials harness the existing city lights in order to light the exterior of the DLCC. By using daylight, the Convention Center saves enough energy each year to power 1,500 Pittsburgh households. Heat-island effect is reduced by use of stainless steel roofing and placement of a “living” roof which also filters rainwater, reduces stormwater runoff, provides natural air-conditioning and provides a location for the Levy Restaurant’s 1,200 square foot garden full of organically-grown heirloom vegetables and herbs.

The Convention Center is complete with indigenous plants in the landscaping and a Monarch Butterfly Waystation. These plant species are already adapted to thrive in Pittsburgh’s normal environmental conditions, so there is no need for any pesticides, fertilizers, or excess irrigation. Additionally, planting these species restores riverfront habitat, providing food and shelter for the pollinating insects, birds, and migrating monarch butterflies which are vital parts of the natural ecosystem.

Sustainability Features:

  • Built on an urban brownfield location
  • Aquifer used for landscaping irrigation and cooling tower feed
  • Greywater reclamation plant
  • Water usage reduced by 66%
  • Natural lighting system
  • Water/wind air-cooling ventilation system
  • Monitoring system of CO2, CO, N2O, temperature, lights,  and air-intake
  • One-tenth of building materials made from post-consumer recycled content
  • 92% of all the construction and demolition waste was reused or recycled
  • 50% of the new materials were produced within 500 miles of site
  • Vegetated “living” roof cools building and and reduces heat-island effect
  • Indigenous plants used in landscaping
  • A portion of the DLCC power is purchased from Pittsburgh wind farms
Awards and Accolades: 2004- Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence from the Institution of Structural Engineers
Note: This project was conducted by Paul Tseng and CH2M Hill.


Date posted: April 12, 2012

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