Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse and Academic Complex

  • Opened/Completed

    • 2018
  • Area

    • 205,000 ft²

Design Achievement - The Pittsburgh Playhouse is a new academic performing arts and media center on Point Park University’s downtown Pittsburgh campus. DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky’s design provides state-of-the-art facilities for four performance companies, including the Conservatory of Performing Arts, which was recently ranked No. 8 on playbill.com’s list of the Top Colleges Currently Represented on Broadway, and No. 3 on OnStage’s list of the Top 10 BFA Dance Programs in the country. Situated on 1.5 acres in an urban district with many landmark structures, the new complex is an addition to two historic buildings – the University Center designed by Frederick J. Osterling, and the Stock Exchange Building designed by Charles M. Bartberger. The new work architecturally complements its historic, setting and includes a 6,000-SF garden court flanking the entry and lobby. This two-story outdoor plaza and colonnade features three former Forbes Avenue facades that have been meticulously reconstructed as major focal points of the design. The tight urban site created a planning challenge for the proscenium stage, requiring the venue to abut the sidewalk and preclude conventional access from the rear of the theater. In response to this constraint, DLR Group|WRL’s design features an audience chamber with patron access from the side of the theater and an asymmetrical seating arrangement that responds to patron flow. Large windows, with black out capabilities for performances, flood the room with daylight when it is used as a teaching space, allowing passersby to glimpse activity within and enlivening the street façade. 

Scope Summary – The project features three new theaters: a 561-seat proscenium/thrust main stage; a 212-seat multi-form theater, and a 102-seat black box space in 80,000 SF of new construction. The building also houses a sound stage and sound editing suites; scenery, prop, paint, and costume shops; a television studio; cinema edit labs; a screening room; scenic design and general classrooms; rehearsal halls; acting studios; faculty offices; performer support; and public amenities. Variable enclosures within the multi-form theater and the main stage allow these venues to play to the urban neighborhood. Other labs, shops, and studios are also exposed to the internal circulation system and to the street itself, communicating the vitality of fabrication, experimentation, and creativity. The project also involved master planning in 85,000 SF of existing construction and renovation of 35,000 SF. DLR Group|WRL provided master planning, architecture, interiors, MEP + structural  engineering, LEED, theater technical, acoustics, and IT/telecom design.

DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.

Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse and Academic Complex

Point Park University