IKM Skyscraper Finalist in Design Competition

IKM Skyscraper Finalist in Design Competition

IKM Incorporated architects were selected as a finalist from 50 requests for submissions in a design competition for a proposed 18-story, 300,000 square foot office building overlooking the Monongahela River in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The IKM team was led by principal and partner, Joel Bernard, AIA, LEED AP, with Melissa Annette, AIA, LEED AP, as design architect joined by Nelly Dacic, Assoc. AIA, and Adam Warner, Architectural Illustrator.

Designed for Greentree developer Burns & Scalo, the design competition was a precursor to securing an office tenant for a prime site location on Fort Pitt Boulevard near One Smithfield Street.

“According to the Developer, they are ideally looking for a large corporation to have a signature building location like a major gas and oil company looking to set up its headquarters Downtown Pittsburgh,” said Bernard.Having recently completed the nearly one million square foot Westinghouse Headquarters in Cranberry Township, IKM brings extensive knowledge in current office design to the project.  Bernard served as the Principal in Charge of that project.

Drawing upon the area’s reputation as “The City of Bridges,” the IKM competition design seeks to embrace that recognition and celebrate it on the City’s skyline. The building’s design inspiration was the iconic Smithfield Street Bridge; it begins to translate the distinct river-scape into an evolving city-scape. The glass “voids” that cut the building naturally create an open public space as well as draw daylight deep into the building interior to sustain a healthy work environment.


“The atrium would cover the bottom three floors, and at the top of the building more light would be provided,” said Melissa Annette, AIA, LEED AP, project design architect for IKM.

“The rectangular tower would have an arching curve up through the center of the structure, culminating in overhanging glass through the middle of the top five floors,” she said.

The shape the voids take allow for a smooth transition between the private office occupancy and the public street presence. The presence on the skyline is one that speaks to the unique attributes of the City of Pittsburgh and seeks to create an impression on both the skyline and the streetscape.

About IKM
IKM is a signatory of the 2030 Commitment sponsored by the American Institute of Architects to adapt their operations and design product to the highest level of environmental consciousness. The firm’s sustainability portfolio includes the LEED® Certified Westinghouse Corporate Headquarters campus, LEED® Silver renovation and addition to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and the University of Pittsburgh’s LEED® Gold McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.