Convention Center Riverfront Plaza


The concept of a riverfront connection to Pittsburgh's Convention Center was introduced in 1996 when the Convention Facilities Needs Assessment Task Force presented its recommendations for expansion of the old Center.

With the completion of the Convention Center Riverfront Plaza in 2011 (click here for press release), a continuous pedestrian and bicycle riverfront trail is now in place from Point State Park to the Strip District, completing a missing link in the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Additionally, the pedestrian path through the Convention Center's 10th Street water feature no longer dead-ends at the river, but now becomes an additional pedestrian connection to the City’s trail system.
Convention Center Riverfront Plaza

Key Facts

Architect: LaQuatra Bonci Associates
Contractor: Mascaro Construction Company, L.P.
Inspector: SAI Consulting Engineers
Project cost: $9.5 million
Construction completion: May 2011
Riverfront length: 1,300 feet
Programmable public gathering space: 3,000 square feet


The SEA completed the project with assistance from federal, state and philanthropic sources which include:
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program
  • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission with federal assistance from the Sport Fish Restoration Program
  • United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
  • The Heinz Endowments
  • Laurel Foundation
Convention Center Riverfront Plaza


Convention Center Riverfront Plaza
  • Design includes four (4) separate structures - two sheet pile retaining walls, one pipe pile supported elevated walkway and one pipe pile supported platform
  • 11 foot wide elevated walkway meanders vertically and horizontally through vegetation
  • Elevated walkway provides a new handicap accessible connection to the trail system
  • Platform extends 23 ft out over the river creating a 3,000 sq ft public gathering space
  • Mooring for commercial boats (10 tie ups) and recreational boats (27 tie ups)
  • Decorative paving resembles a “delta” where the water feature appears to join the river
  • Materials (concrete, stone) durable enough to withstand periodic flooding and the clean-up afterwards
  • Trees, shrubs and plants are ones that naturally grow along streams or rivers in southwestern Pennsylvania and can endure the expected periodic flooding

Tenth Street Water Feature

Convention Center Riverfront Plaza - Tenth Street Water Feature
In order to invite people in the Penn Avenue corridor to the waterfront, the Tenth Street Water Feature was constructed as part of the pedestrian walkway beneath the Convention Center. The walkway descends seventeen feet from the street to the river as it meanders through fountain pools. The walls surrounding the path flow with water, and overhead lighting creates an environment that feels safe and welcoming. The passageway to the river was designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects as part of the Convention Center; the water feature was designed by Crystal Fountains.

The Tenth Street Water Feature was built with private financial support from the Heinz Endowments, the Grable Foundation, the Hillman Foundation and the Laurel Foundation. Public assistance came from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Federal Highway Administration.


For information on holding an event at the Convention Center Riverfront Plaza, please contact SMG, manager of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, at 412-565-6000.
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