Next Page: About that 'Charm Bracelet Project'

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The "Charm Bracelet Project" was launched by the Children's Museum to build upon the unique collection of amenities in our part of the North Side. Looking to make the most of what we already have, the project seeks to encourage creative initiatives, strengthen connections and enhance family experiences across the district.

We invited four teams of architects, designers, urban planners and artists to offer proposals for achieving this goal. The Urban Lab at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Architecture provided research data and base materials and also explored the project in their studios.

The four invited teams are:

Suisman Urban Design (Doug Suisman and Eli Garsilazo), Santa Monica, Calif., with Rand Corp., Pure Design of Santa Monica and Lisa Miles of Pittsburgh (featured here).

Colab Architecture (Felecia Davis), Ithaca, N.Y., with CLEAR of Syracuse, N.Y.; Brett Yasko of Pittsburgh, and SO-AD of Pittsburgh.

muf architecture / art and Objectif, London, with Jocelyn Horner (a North Sider, currently based in London) and Liz Ogbu of San Francisco.

Pentagram (Paula Scher, Drew Freeman, Nikola Gottschik), New York, N.Y.

The proposals of all four teams and the Urban Lab are on display at the Children's Museum lobby through May (free admission to the lobby). Funding for the project has come from the National Endowment for the Arts, Heinz Endowments and Gailliot Family Foundation with ongoing support by Grable Foundation and Buhl Foundation.

Here are a few examples of ideas that were proposed:

Installing "solar trees" in the North Shore parking lots to light up underpasses for a farmer's market, cafes and bike rentals.

Projecting quotes, photos and movies on blank buildings and inserting messages on window grids.

Building a wilderness trail from the Allegheny River at the Carnegie Science Center to the National Aviary at Allegheny Commons.

Lighting the underpasses through collaborations with regional artists.

Engage football fans during tailgating with art and commerce.

Install large neon signs atop institutions to make visible the charm bracelet at night.

Creating artistic installations and gateways to the neighborhood.

The proposals are now setting the agenda to guide future development in a manner that is responsive to the personality of the North Side and the desires of the neighborhoods.

-- Chris Siefert, deputy director of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (

The next Charm Bracelet event features the British urban innovator Charles Landry, speaking on "The Art of City Making," April 19 at 6 p.m. at the Children's Museum (


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