Railroad Street Market Hall

48-305: Advanced Construction Studio
Professors Steve Lee and Jeff Davis
Third Year, Spring 2014

With the collapse of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the dissolution of the PRR Produce and Fruit Auction, Pittsburgh’s Strip District has slowly transformed from a wholesale distribution hub into a culinary destination with a growing residential community. The site’s longstanding culinary heritage, gritty industrial architecture, and location just outside the central business district make it a prime location for the kinds of amenities offered by a public market hall.

The project required a 30,000 ft2 market hall, a destination restaurant, and 10,000 ft2 of flexible service-oriented office space. In response to increased privatization of the Allegheny riverfront in a neighborhood with no parks or plazas, the form of the project resolved to create a variety of large, open, programmable public spaces and terraces. The project was organized around 4 key forms- the ground level plinth with a riverside destination restaurant and streetside offices, a large, elevated open plaza, a monolithic circulation tower, and a floating continuous ring of market stalls.

The overall form was inspired by the lightweight structures of pre-war dirigibles. Its slender, horizontal form reinforces the linear views of downtown framed by the long brick historic warehouses, while the massive floating market hall appears to defy gravity, always hovering just above the one story warehouses of the riverfront while becoming an architectural spectacle and a new icon for the neighborhood.