David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Convention Center
The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is an exceptional facility which draws many visitors from around the country. Architect Rafael Vinoly designed the building to be tailored to the City of Pittsburgh, with features that balance both aesthetic quality and operational efficiency.

The Convention Center graces the City skyline with a design inspired by the great bridges of Pittsburgh. It was the first convention center in the United States built with a strong commitment to environmental principles such as natural lighting and ventilation, water reclamation, and recycling.

In November 2003, the Convention Center received a Gold LEED for New Construction Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). At the time, it was the largest green building in the world. In May 2012, the Convention Center received a Platinum certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system. It is the first convention center to achieve this ranking, and is also the first to earn certifications under two separate LEED rating systems.

Key Facts

Architect: Rafael Vinoly Architects, P.C.
Construction Manager: Turner Construction/P. J. Dick/ATS
Facility Manager: SMG
Development Cost: $373 million
Total Square Footage: 1,500,000 square feet
Total Exhibition Space: 313,400 square feet
Column Free, Main Hall: 236,900 square feet
Secondary Hall: 76,500 square feet
Meeting Rooms: 53
Exhibit Halls: 5
Lecture Halls (250 seat): 2
Ballroom: 31,610 square feet
Kitchen Facility: 12,000 square feet
Parking Garage: 710 spaces
Loading Docks: 37


Philanthropic Involvement
Pittsburgh's philanthropic community played a major role in the Convention Center's development. The following foundations supported the design element of the building by funding a $750,000 design competition.

  • Heinz Endowments
  • Hillman Foundation
  • Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
  • Buhl Foundation
  • Richard King Mellon Foundation
  • Anonymous source
In February of 1999, Rafael Vinoly Architects was selected by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Convention Center Design Commission. Construction of the building began in February of 2000.

To ensure the environmental integrity of the building, the Heinz Endowments provided a $4 million grant to the Green Building Alliance and another $3 million loan to the SEA for the cost of green technologies which helped the Convention Center earn the Gold LEED Certification.

Corporate Sponsorships

Additional Sponsorship Information
If you or your company are interested in learning more about the David L. Lawrence Convention Center sponsorship campaign, please contact the SEA at (412) 393-0200.


The Convention Center is managed and operated for the SEA by SMG now ASM, a company that specializes in the management of convention centers. The General Manager of the Convention Center is Tim Muldoon.

For more information and upcoming events, please visit the Convention Center website.

Levy Restaurants
Food and catering services are provided exclusively for the Convention Center by Levy Premium Foodservice Limited Partnership, an Illinois limited partnership.

For more information please visit the website for Levy Restaurants.

Veolia Water
Veolia Water North America – Northeast, LLC operates the Chilled Water Plant, which provides the chilled water that supplies the air conditioning system running throughout the Convention Center.

Veolia also operates the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which collects and treats all wastewater from sanitary potable uses. The water is then recycled throughout the building for toilet flushing.

Public Art

The integration of public art was an important component for the Convention Center. A $2 million Public Art Program was created to maximize community involvement and to facilitate the selection of artists. The purpose of the program was to select artists whose work compliments the unique design of the Convention Center, diversifies the public art forum, and reflects the historic role of art and architecture in Pittsburgh. This program was made possible through the generous support of local foundations. Please see Public Art at the Convention Center for more information.

Art Committee
During the construction of the Convention Center, the SEA established an art committee to guide the process for commissioning and acquiring artworks. The committee was responsible for developing the plans, issuing calls for artists/artworks, reviewing proposals, and selecting the artists/artworks.

In 2012, a new art committee was established to advise the SEA on items related to the existing public art collection. The committee is responsible for reviewing and making recommendations to the SEA Board regarding gifted artworks, maintenance of existing artworks, and commissioning or acquiring new artworks.

Green Building Features

Convention Center - Green Features
Pittsburgh's Convention Center is the first environmentally friendly building of its kind. In November 2003, the facility received a Gold Certification under the LEED™ for New Construction rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) and became the largest green building in the United States.

In May 2012, the Convention Center received a Platinum® certification under the LEED rating system for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance™ and re-certified as Platinum® in 2017. It is the first convention center to achieve this ranking, and is also the first to earn certifications under two separate LEED™ rating systems.

Pittsburgh routinely finds itself rated amongst the “greenest” cities in the nation. In 2015 Pittsburgh was 12th among metro areas in per capita LEED™ buildings (square feet/person), with more square feet added every year. When the Convention Center was first built, Pittsburgh had four LEED™ projects totaling over 2.4 million square feet. The Convention Center comprised nearly 60% of the city's total green buildings at the time. As of 2017, there are over 150 commercial and residential LEED™ certified projects in Pittsburgh.

Because of its commitment to environmental practices, the Convention Center is a leader in the green event industry, generating revenues for both the facility and the region. Green-seeking conventions have brought $252 million dollars in direct spending to the Pittsburgh region from 2006 through 2016, representing 22% of all direct spending generated by the Convention Center. In 2017, the Convention Center received the APEX Level II Certification from the Green Meeting Industry Council™ for meeting environmentally sustainable benchmarks for environmental performance in meetings and events.

No other convention center in the country incorporates so many green technologies. The Convention Center's unique building features include:

  • Natural day-lighting
  • Natural ventilation
  • Water reclamation
  • Comprehensive recycling program
  • Sustainable site, materials, and resources
  • A commitment to maintaining healthy indoor environmental quality

Convention Center - Aerial View
As of 2015, the Convention Center keeps more than 60.3% of its event waste out of landfills through recycling, composting, and donating usable materials. It also uses 28% less energy than the average entertainment sector building, and 30% of electricity comes from renewable sources.

In relation to water usage, only 17% of the Convention Center’s water use comes from municipal sources. In 2015, the amount of recycled water that went through its wastewater treatment plant could fill over 7 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Green Report
The SEA prepares an annual Green Report detailing the sustainable features and operation of the building, which can be found here.

Case Study
In November 2011, the Convention Center completed a two-year case study process that provided financial justification for building performance, facility management, occupant satisfaction, and organizational sustainability. The study was the first of its kind and had three goals:

  • Understand the ROI and develop the business case for the building’s high performance design and for ongoing operational initiatives,
  • Leverage LEED-EBOM as a tool to refocus the Convention Center’s commitment to sustainability and to establish innovative thought leadership and capitalize on market recognition, and
  • Research industry best practices and performance to benchmark progress against internal goals and externalstandards.

A thorough set of analyses contributed to the findings, including quantitative and qualitative assessments on systems including: energy, natural ventilation, water, site, transportation, waste, purchasing, commissioning, and occupant comfort. The research team also went beyond typical post- occupancy metrics to examine corporate culture, organization learning, stakeholder perceptions and marketing initiatives related to sustainability. The project was coordinated by the Green Building Alliance and funded by the Heinz Endowments, with support from the SEA. The case study team included: evolve environment::architecture, CJL Engineering, the Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics as CMU, and Civil and Environmental Consultants. Click here to read the full report.

South Terrace Green Roof
Convention Center - Green Roof
The South Terrace Green Roof, which opened in May 2012, operates as both a programmable, outdoor event space and an important component of the Convention Center's environmental initiatives. Click here to view the press release. When the 20,000 square foot roof was built, 73% of the former roof materials were recycled or donated, and 60% of purchased materials met sustainable requirements.

The South Terrace Green Roof is evidence of the Convention Center's commitment to environmentally-conscious practices. Green roofs store up to 80% of rainfall during a storm, lessening the burden on municipal drainage systems. In addition, it is estimated that the plants on the South Terrace Green Roof will remove 680 pounds of particulate matter pollution from the air each year—an amount equal to the annual air pollution generated by 255 cars.

The urban heat island effect (the disproportionate increase in summer temperatures in densely developed areas as a result of conventional asphalt and concrete materials heating in the sun) will be reduced due to its white pavers, which are made of a high-SRI (solar reflective index) material, and the plants themselves, through the natural evapotranspiration processes. Studies show that on the hottest of Pittsburgh days, a green roof remains fifty degrees cooler than a conventional roof.

The roof contains dozens of types of horticulture, including species native to Southwestern Pennsylvania, which help restore and protect natural habitat, and Sedum species, which are non-invasive, hardy, adaptive species used on many green roofs.

One of the most unique features about the green roof is that it is programmable, rentable space. If you would like to rent the space for your event, please contact Chad Ford at 412-325-6158 or cford@pittsburghcc.com.

Convention Center Hotel
The Authority continues to explore opportunities for the development of a convention center headquarter hotel.

Retail Space
Existing tenants include a Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop, CobblerWorld baked goods store, Bike the Gap bicycle tours store, and YouthPlaces after-school programming center.


The Convention Center includes a 710 space garage which is managed and operated by ALCO Parking Corporation. Entrances to the garage are located on 10th Street and 11th Street, marked by the green stars below. For current parking rates and leases for the garage, please visit the Convention Center Parking Garage.

There are several parking options within a fifteen minute walk to the Convention Center. Please click here for a map of the various parking garages and lots in the area.
Convention Center Parking

Accessibility for Disabled

Contact the SEA for ADA information at 412.393.0200 or sea-ada-info@pgh-sea.com. You may inquire for information or to share concerns or suggestions regarding accessibility to the SEA Offices or the David. L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The following are links to the accessibility pages of SEA facilities & ALCO Parking Corporation:
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Acrisure Stadium
PNC Park
PPG Paints Arena
ALCO Parking Corporation
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