Fountain and Ice Rink at PPG Place

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Completion: 2002
Project Area: 3,800 ft2
Services: Architecture, Planning

IKM was commissioned by Hillman Properties as the lead architect to design a winter ice skating rink and choreographed fountain on the outdoor plaza of PPG Place. The ice rink and fountain are the first steps in transforming the cool, crisp plaza into a people-friendly place. Elegant but underutilized, the plaza will come alive in the winter months with a diamond-shaped rink surrounding the existing, distinctive rose-granite obelisk at its center. With dimensions of 104 by 104 feet, the rink will be larger than (and has already been compared to) the rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

In the spring and summer, the plaza will feature fountains created by WET Design in collaboration with SWA Group. The fountain’s water jets will be submerged in the plaza’s granite surface creating a dramatic effect without a pool or basin. The jets will be computer programmed for an endless variety of motion at heights varying from six inches to 15 feet, at different energy levels. Moving columns of water will appear to be dancing on the surface of the plaza and the dark granite surface will become a mirror of reflectivity when it is wet. At night the fountains will be saturated with light to reflect in the glass architecture of the six-building complex of PPG Place. The plans also call for moveable plants, trees, tables and chairs for warm-weather use.

The goal of the transformation was to create an area of vibrancy that embraces the character of the space, engages the public in an active way, and respects the architectural significance of the plaza.