The University of Pittsburgh Hillside Framework Plan sets forth recommendations and guidelines to ensure that as capital projects progress, a unified vision for the Hillside emerges. In doing so, it actuates the core values of sustainability, inclusivity, and economic resilience set forth in the University’s Campus Master Plan. The concept of The Green Ribbon cannot be reduced to any singular element. Rather, it is a vision for a cohesive, interconnected journey up, down, and through campus. It is the idea that the landscape can and should serve as the connective tissue between buildings and at a larger scale, between the urban campus and the Hillside. It is the unifying framework to all of the episodic moments along that journey, and use the topography and ecology of the landscape as its armature.
In this unique time in history, human-engaged landscapes are as important as ever, serving as the backdrop for social connectivity, demonstration of society’s values, and seeking the solace amidst uncertainty and unrest. It is in this context that we have envisioned a Hillside landscape that is a reflection of both the University of Pittsburgh and the unique character of the city, and an offering to all constituents of the University’s campus. It is a place for both gathering and solitude, and creates space for all types of human engagement. Within this larger societal context, the University is also in a position to rethink the nature of the relationship between urban lower campus and the vastly different yet complementary topography and character of the Hillside. It is this very difference that provides a rare opportunity to envision a signature landscape within the campus that creates a sense of unity and cohesion between disparate architecture, while merging as an iconic feature in and of itself. With both aspirational design and technical rigor, this plan presents a vision that takes full advantage of the Hillside’s sweeping views and sylvan environs while also providing a feasible solution to the challenge of traversing its dramatic topography.