Lauded Midcentury City Square Receives a Much-Needed Revitalization

Lauded Midcentury City Square Receives a Much-Needed Revitalization

By Diana Budds
After years of neglect, Mellon Square in Pittsburgh reemerges as a 21st-century public space.

Masterminded by the visionary landscape architect John O. Simonds, Mellon Square, in Pittsburgh, emerged in 1955 as the urban oasis downtown denizens sorely needed. Encompassing an entire city block, the 1.37-acre garden was the first to be constructed over a parking garage. "Pittsburgh then was notoriously smoky, gridlocked, and flood-prone," says Susan Rademacher, a curator at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the organization that spearheaded the land’s recent $10 million restoration, and author of Mellon Square: Discovering a Modern Masterpiece (Princeton Architectural Press, 2014). "Downtown had zero designed public space, and Mellon Square was excitedly welcomed as a harbinger of wholesale change for the better."

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