A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

PPG Plaza

Pittsburgh

PA

USA

Contributed by 
R Dylewski
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
April 22, 2002
December 14, 2017

"PPG Plaza is nothing more than a sidewalk on steroids."

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

PPG Plaza is nothing more than a sidewalk on steroids, with all the charm therein. Designed by celebrity architect Phillip Johnson as part of his suite of several glass-turreted PPG buildings, it is a desolate space you are prone to cross quickly, in an effort to limit your time spent there. In the center of the square is a rather squat olbelisk, mounted on a stone plinth. Locally, it is often described as the sort of place that firing squads would use.

Instead of adding to the public space of Pittsburgh, PPG Plaza subtracted. The recent wintertime addition of a skating rink is only one example of ways in which people have desperately tried to make this space work.

Access & Linkages

The PPG buildings which border this square of three sides are heartless glass towers. When walking in the square you don't quite know where to look - as the buildings are uninspired toys, and the square has no focus or charm.

Comfort & Image

Sitting in PPG Plaza is frowned upon, particularly on the plinth that dominates the center of the square. Rent-A-Cops will shoo away those who try. Occasionally some tables and chairs will be set up for the lunchtime crowd - but nothing permanent is intended. The entire visual script reads, "stay away."

Uses & Activities

As above.

Sociability

No one in their right mind would show off this place as a source of "urban pride." And few people meet there. It is too large and disorienting. The problem would be: Where would you tell people to meet you? It's all the same.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

PPG Plaza
PPG Plaza
PPG Plaza
PPG Plaza
PPG Plaza
Two photos of the Christmas tree and skating rink contributed by Anita Falce.
PPG Plaza
PPG Plaza
Bottom two images contributed by Rose D.
PPG Plaza

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

NOMINATE A PLACE

Corrections or additions? Email info@pps.org
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A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET