This retaining wall is one of the sites on the Young Preservationists Association’s top 10 list of best preservation opportunities in the region. (Photo courtesy of YPA.)
I know what some of you are thinking: Are you joking? That big concrete monstrosity created by urban removal in the ‘50s and ‘60s?
It’s there, holding things up, so YPA figures that “concrete monstrosity” shouldn’t be the first thing you think of when you see it as you enter Bigelow Boulevard to go eastward.
Dan Holland, YPA’s CEO and founder, said it made the list in part because it is crumbling in places, and it is an example of modernist construct, “for better or worse.”
YPA recommends for it a great art project.
Here’s YPA’s description:
“From as early as 1919, plans were drawn up to create a decorative retaining wall on Bigelow Boulevard, but were never fully realized. But by the time it was created in the 1950s, it was plain and utilitarian in design, with limited pedestrian access functioning purely as an engineering structure. The Bigelow Boulevard Retaining Wall is a remnant from the 1950s Urban Renewal Era or, more accurately, mid-century modern, and serves as a testament to the ideology of Urban Renewal and Modernist Planning in its stark, utilitarian aesthetic. Currently, the wall is in fair shape, but it appears to be crumbling in places, particularly along the Crosstown Boulevard section. If left to decay, the structure’s integrity could be compromised. In addition, the retraining wall remains a bland statement for a city that is anything but. The wall could serve as a large, public mural created by local artists. This project could bring a sense of culture and place back to a monotonous corridor. The mural represents a bold declaration about Pittsburgh’s fascinating past . . . and vibrant future.”
You can read more about the Top 10 list in today’s Post-Gazette or online at post-gazette.com.