2008 International Urban Parks Pre-Conference Tours
Sunday, September 21
Please note that registration is required for all tours, and an additional fee applies. See our registration page for details.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater
12:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Located 50 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Fallingwater is recognized as one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most acclaimed works. In a 1991 poll of members of the American Institute of Architects, it was voted "the best all-time work of American architecture." It is a supreme example of Frank Lloyd Wright's concept of organic architecture, which promotes harmony between man and nature through design so well integrated with its site that buildings, furnishings, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition.
Olmsteds' Vandergrift and Chatham Village
12:00 - 5:00 p.m.
In 1895, in the aftermath of violent labor conflicts in the iron and steel industry, Apollo Iron and Steel hired the nation's preeminent landscape architectural firm, Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot, to design a new model industrial town: Vandergrift. Historian Ida Tarbell called Vandergrift America's "most important industrial town."
Chatham Village is a 76-year old planned community that opened in 1932 and is now a National Historic Landmark. The Village is a prototype of the British Garden City movement, an industrial-age aesthetic that tried to create a country haven within a noisy, polluted city. It was Pittsburgh's first all-gas community, and its utilities are buried. Chatham Village was built on a for-profit basis and became a model for city planners, architects and pioneers of subsidized housing policy. Its early residents were working-class renters.
Kayak on the River
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh is defined by its rivers, and this guided kayak eco-tour is a great way to experience and learn about it. The tour will start with paddling and safety instruction and a little bit of practice. Sitting in the stable, beginner-friendly boats and dazzled by the gorgeous Pittsburgh skyline, tour participants won’t even realize that they are suddenly paddling like pros. This leisurely paddle will tour up the Allegheny River to historic Washington’s Landing and back. Along the way expect beautiful views and lively conversation about the river’s history and ecology.
Pittsburgh's Green Buildings
2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh is one of the top five cities in the United States for the number of LEED ® certified and registered green buildings. Join the Green Building Alliance on a tour that will provide a firsthand view of some of the city's best examples of green buildings. You will see these exciting structures and learn how green buildings differ from conventionally constructed buildings.
Maintaining Urban Historic Parks: Building Landscape Preservation Field Skills
2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Presented at Frick Park by NAOP and the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation (NPS), this hands-on training session, led by staff from the Olmsted Center, will focus on the principles and practices of field inspections as a critical aspect of a park maintenance program.
Routine and long-term maintenance operations have a significant effect on the success, or failure, of preserving important landscape features and the character of a historic urban park. Effective historic urban park stewardship relies on information from field inspections and condition assessments to identify resource management priorities.
This session will provide classroom instruction and field demonstrations for conducting landscape inspections at historic urban parks with a focus on balancing preservation goals with contemporary management needs. Specific topics to be discussed include:
∙ Determining inspection goals and objectives
∙ Developing condition assessment schedules and procedures
∙ Using diverse resource inspection tools and techniques
∙ Determining deficiencies in landscape condition
∙ Applying inspection information to park preservation maintenance operations
∙ Documenting and record keeping of inspection data
Led by Charlie Pepper, Deputy Director, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, a Program of the North Atlantic Region, National Park Service with additional speakers.
Pittsburgh's Historic Fabric: Landscapes & Architecture
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
This walking tour will feature a visit to Mellon Square and the Alcoa Building. Mellon Square is the oldest surviving park built above a parking garage. Mellon Square itself was one of the cornerstone projects of Pittsburgh’s post World War II Renaissance effort. The Alcoa Building is a thirty-story skyscraper that was designed as a showpiece of the use of aluminum in building construction. Aluminum was used wherever possible, from the skin of the building to its utilities. It was designed by Harrison and Abramovitz, one of the most famous architecture firms in the U.S. at mid-century. The tour will also include Henry Hobson Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail. Richardson is considered by many to be the leading architect of the 19th century. The Frick Building (1901-02) was the first of industrialist Henry Clay Frick's architectural ventures on Grant Street, Downtown. In 1903, Leslie's Weekly judged it "the finest office building in the world." The tour will also visit the Union Trust Building, a Flemish gothic fantasy by Pittsburgh architect Frederick J. Osterling. It is Henry Clay Frick's answer to the then-new Woolworth Building in New York City, the world's tallest.
Riverfront Bike Ride
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers are lined with wonderful bike trails full of history and scenic beauty. After a lesson about how to use the bicycles and travel safely, the group will get their helmets on and hit the trail. This moderately paced bike ride along this gentle trail will take the group along and over the Monongahela River. Along the way the group will be able to view models of urban redevelopment from the Southside Works to Station Square, have an opportunity to cross some of Pittsburgh’s famous bridges, and have time to learn about the region’s heritage.