Mellon Square Park

Designers: Simonds & Simonds, Mitchell & Ritchey | City: Pittsburgh, PA | Project Type: green roof, modernist
Date Visited: 09.12.12
Location: 529 Smithfiield St
Size: 1.3 acre
Cost: $7.9 million
Official Opening Date: 1955 (2013 for completed renovations)

A forerunner of today’s green roofs, Mellon Square Park is one of the oldest surviving parks built over a parking garage. The modernist park, which features triangular paving, asymmetrical planting, and nine circular bronze basins, was built from 1953 to 1955 by the design firm Simonds & Simonds.


The urban oasis is significant not only for attracting downtown investment and providing lush, green open space, but the name of the designers of the park should also ring a bell for many landscape architecture students who have read John Ormsbee Simonds’ book ’Landscape Architecture: A Manual of Land Planning and Design’. A popular and grand gathering space, Mellon Square Park was even included in the National Register of Historic Places.

A historic photo of Mellon Square shows its careful design. You can see the line of bronze fountain bowls in the center. Credit: pittsburghparks.org
Today, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy leads an $11 million renovation project of Mellon Square Park. Starting in 2011, all aspects of the park are being restored, from the custom triangular paving (Rustic Venetian Terazzo) to the huge bronze fountain bowls.

It’s fantastic that the park is getting a much needed facelift, but again, just like Point State Park, I’ve arrived just a few months too early. Construction won’t be complete until Spring 2013, but walking around, you can get a feel of just how beautiful the renovated park will look like.

For pictures of the first construction phase of Mellon Square Park, click here for the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy’s flickr set.

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