Sports and Exhibition Authority
1.5 million
Design Team

MY Studio / Höweler + Yoon Architecture
Nitsch Engineering
Energy Forest is a new type of urban plaza: a dynamic, sustainable, and interactive civic grove that plays off Pittsburgh's rich heritage of wooded hillsides and abundant natural resources. The garden's primary element is a constantly sloping path set at a 5% grade, thereby accessible to all. At one edge, the path embeds itself into the hillside, while at the opposite end the path projects over the landscape and floats above it. Between the switchbacks, intermittent seating elements—garden bleachers—emerge from the hillside and offer places to stop, to eat, to play, to watch. The forest consists of alternating bands of black and yellow bamboo and steel poles, which collectively accentuate the journey from down to up, or up to down

The project's technological elements -vertical metal poles in the forest and illuminated water walls at the embedded end of the pathway- create a new set of civic ecologies that are at once sustainable and atmospheric. Tall poles capture and turn in the wind, creating intermittent lighting effects in the forest. In contrast, low water walls on the upside of the switchback utilize available stormwater to illuminate a matrix of led fixtures planted into its surface. Together, the poles and walls pulse alternately and simultaneously in a constantly evolving play, bringing a sense of life and energy to the hillside.