Capturing the ephemeral

Buhl Community Park

After winning first place in a national competition, ACLA ushered the design for this public park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, adjacent to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, through its opening day in 2012. The design respects and highlights the historic importance of the site at the same time as it breathes fresh life into the plaza.

After reconnecting the historic city grid that was destroyed during 1960’s-era ‘urban renewal’ efforts, the park is once again the public gathering area it once was for Allegheny City. Important design features such as a bioswale and native planting educate visitors about sustainability, while an interactive art installation activates the space and fosters a connection with the nearby Children’s Museum.

Emphasizing species native of Pittsburgh’s region, the planting design for Allegheny Public Square connects visitors with the experiential qualities of the local ecosystems while also processing the plaza’s storm-water. ACLA assembled and managed a large team of designers and engineers to meet the unique challenges of building this park.

Collaboration with a public artist to develop the site-specific installation, fully integrated into the park, was an important aspect of the design process. The resulting art piece by Ned Kahn consists of a grid of 64 stainless steel poles that emit fog with water fed from the steam heating system of Pittsburgh. An ethereal hovering sphere floats above the park’s surface.

This project highlights Cochran’s flawless integration of landscape architecture and art.

Phaidon Press, 30 x 30


Feature Frontline Park
City Parks Alliance, Washington, D.C.

Merit Award in Design
American Society of Landscape Architects, Northern California Chapter


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Marion Brenner, Ed Massery and the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Public Artist

Ned Kahn