Discovering a Modern Masterpiece
The second volume in our Modern Landscapes series examines the evolution of Pittsburgh's first modern garden plaza. Completed in 1955 from a design by the acclaimed landscape design firm Simonds & Simonds and architects Mitchell & Ritchey, Mellon Square functioned as an urban oasis that provided downtown office workers a much-needed respite from the city's infamous smoke pollution. Now, more than six decades later, Mellon Square is undergoing a major restoration by Patricia O Donnell of Heritage Landscapes that aims to restore this urban garden and help revitalize downtown Pittsburgh. Featuring new photography and archival material, Mellon Square is the only book to showcase the development of this iconic urban landscape.
- Mellon Square was a precursor to the modern green roof and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- Appeals to architects, landscape designers, urban planners, and urban historians
- Provides an evolutionary tale of the lifecycle of a park, including development and renewal processes
- Includes a foreword by series editor Charles Birnbaum, president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation; essays by Richard C. Bell and Patricia O Donnell; and an epilogue by Barry W. Starke
The Dirt (ASLA Blog)
At the heart of the book, of course, is the history of Mellon Square itself. Readers looking for historical details will not be disappointed. Design notes, sketches, photographs, and planting details are generously interspersed throughout the text. Those hoping to gain insight for approaching a historic restoration in other cities will also find much to learn from Mellon Square ... .
Her writing helps us place Mellon Square as one of the three decisive and, ultimately, successful redevelopment projects that reshaped our city in that era, the others being Gateway Center and Point State Park. And, as important as those other two projects were, Mellon Square is the only one with the artistic stature that makes it, all by itself, a world-class icon of great urban design even today.
City Parks Blog
Susan's book on Mellon Square captures that culture nicely with a thorough design history of the Square, the underlying evolution of the field of landscape architecture and the role a significant public plaza has played in Pittsburgh's downtown development---all woven nicely together with a captivating look at the civic partnerships that continue to set the tone for a city comfortable with innovation around planning, design and governance.