Convention Center

With the surprise announcement that Pittsburgh would be the site of the September 2009 G-20 Summit, there was suddenly an opportunity to green up the exterior setting of the Convention center. During our Downtown Greening Survey this site was identified as the most visited point in the Golden Triangle and the Convention center itself is one of the world’s largest green buildings—yet its handsome design and green structure was not set off by a green landscape.

Convention Center planters


With the support of Colcom Foundation and Astorino Architects the city side of the convention center was transformed from almost entirely concrete and asphalt paving to a welcoming “green carpet” of an entrance. The plantings included 24 mature Zelkova trees, 180 shrubs and hundreds of perennials. In addition, 50 large planters were added to complete the setting. The plantings provide the following benefits:

  • shade
  • reduce air temperature
  • reduce traffic noise
  • improve air quality by intercepting dust, ash and exhaust
  • will prevent approximately 7,400 gallons of water from entering the municipal water treatment system each year
  • offset approximately 3,400 pounds of carbon annually
  • Every $1 spent on trees provides $2.94 in annual benefits

Convention Center plantings, 2011

Convention Center plantings after initial implementation