Take a unified approach to the August Wilson Center

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Thanks to Tony Norman for his observations on the August Wilson Center puzzle (“August Wilson Center’s Story Not So Tidy,” April 25). He makes it clear that the solution needs to be unique and inclusive, maybe even a little “messy and complicated.” His thoughts complement the PG editorial of April 20 and Sala Udin’s thoughts of April 24.

Relative to the potential interests of a hotel developer and the foundations that also submitted a proposal, perhaps there is a solution in the “both/​and” category rather than just “either/​or.” Perhaps that solution, under the guidance of Judge Lawrence O’Toole, could include:

• A privately owned hotel above the existing August Wilson Center.

• The center’s involvement in the future of the existing building as an equity holder, not just a tenant, assuring it a clear voice in future direction and a continuing identity. This could be achieved by a variation on a “condominium” arrangement, common in residential projects, whereby ownership is shared.

• Financial support by the foundations in providing the equity for the center to participate in this sort of arrangement, similar to the financial support their proposal apparently envisioned.

As an architect, I can’t help but observe that this approach suggests an architectural solution as well, with the existing architecture remaining mostly unaltered while the hotel above is clearly different yet “friendly.” “Messy and complicated,” Tony Norman’s term, is not yet a formal architectural style, but perhaps the time for it has come.

If Judge O’Toole can see his way clear to a “both/​and” solution, then perhaps all the interested parties, as the Post-Gazette editorial suggested, can begin working together.

JOHN T. RADELET
North Side


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