Soaring barn swallow fabricated from salvaged steel among work by local artists
(PITTSBURGH) February 16, 2021 – Decorative tree grates, pedestrian bollards and a 2,000 pound barn swallow crafted from repurposed steel and other metals have been installed at Hazelwood Green as part of a public art initiative managed by the Pittsburgh Office of Public Art and Monmade, and made possible by more than $75,000 in support from The Heinz Endowments. The works were selected following a Request for Qualifications issued in 2018 for regional artists, craftspeople, and fabricators to create site furnishings.
A 178-acre former brownfield site along the Monongahela River, Hazelwood Green is owned by Almono LP, comprising the Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.
Composed of scrap steel, rebar, and sheet metal gathered primarily from the Hazelwood Green site before its development, the barn swallow sculpture was designed and fabricated by Braddock, Pa.-based artist Eddie Opat and the Industrial Arts Workshop. The barn swallow features a 15-foot wingspan and is approximately 15 feet at its highest point. Opat and his collaborators at Industrial Arts Workshop worked with contractors at Hazelwood Green to collect old rebar pulled during site preparation and renovation at the Roundhouse, originally a railroad servicing station built in the late 1800s. The rebar comprises much of the sculpture’s body, while the branch on which the bird is perched and its feather shapes are made from scrap saved from various demo and deconstruction projects around city.
“Situated near the water feature, the swallow creates a beautiful focal point for Plaza visitors to enjoy,” says Todd Stern, Managing Director of U3 Advisors, development advisors for Hazelwood Green. “The visual of a native bird about to take flight, hand-crafted from steel that was forged here and used to shape its industrial past, is an inspiring and uplifting reminder of Pittsburgh’s history and its bright future.”
New installations also include six tree grates designed by Pittsburgh-based artist Carin Mincemoyer and fabricated by Technique Architectural Products. Constructed of raw steel that will be allowed to rust naturally on site, the tree grates feature images of the leaves and nuts of the hazel tree, a species that once grew in abundance along the banks of the Monongahela and for which the neighborhood is named. Mincemoyer’s creative practice encompasses sculpture, installation, public art, and design in diverse materials including wood, metal, discarded packaging, and live plants.
A series of pedestrian bollards designed by Pittsburgh-based multidisciplinary artist, illustrator and educator John Pena and fabricated by Technique Architectural Products have also been installed at Hazelwood Green, with one series featuring the sentence, “In 1892 a stream flowed through this spot,” a reference to the land’s early topography.
Visitors to Hazelwood Green can now also take advantage of custom benches designed by Brian Peters, founder of Building Bytes. An award-winning design and fabrication studio based in Pittsburgh, Building Bytes specializes in producing 3D printed ceramic blocks and tiles for architectural applications.
“The furnishings developed for Hazelwood Green recognize the heritage of the space while also bringing fresh design textures that are innovative and new,” says Stern. “We could not be happier with the work that these local artists have developed and extend our thanks to the Office of Public Art and Monmade for leading this collaboration.”
The Plaza at Hazelwood Green is the site’s first outdoor public space and civic heart of the 178-acre riverfront development. Led by Almono and designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), the Plaza occupies two acres south of the Mill 19 building. The open-air space includes a water feature, rain gardens, pollinator gardens, lawns, trees and native vegetation with hardscape surfaces that facilitate a range of uses. Construction of the Plaza’s water feature, solar canopy and hardscape areas were recently completed, and are now open for public enjoyment. Visit HazelwoodLocal.eventbrite.com for information about upcoming events at the Plaza and around the Hazelwood neighborhood.
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About Industrial Arts Workshop
Originally formed in 2000 by a group of artists (Industrial Arts Co-op) dedicated to the creation and exhibition of sculpture and metal work, the Industrial Arts Workshop has become a fixture in the Pittsburgh area in terms of public art and community collaboration. The Mobile Sculpture Workshop (IAW’s pilot program) has brought together youth (grades 9-12) from around the Pittsburgh area to learn safe welding and metal fabrication techniques, the artist process, community engagement, and team building. Together with community partners, they have engaged residents, created public art from recycled materials, and installed sculptures in neighborhoods for all to enjoy. In addition, its students are offered the opportunity to develop transferable skills in welding and metal fabrication. With a new workshop located in Hazelwood, IAW has the opportunity to serve as a permanent resource and hub for the community, helping to address the needs for access, professional arts exposure, and technical training programs.
About Hazelwood Green
Located in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood and situated along the Monongahela River, Hazelwood Green is envisioned to become a world-class model for sustainable development that is aligned with community and grounded in the principles of sustainability, equity, and inclusive economic opportunity. This former urban brownfield is being transformed into a center for innovation, with a design vision that encompasses a mix of offices, research and development, light manufacturing, housing, retail, public green spaces, trails and transportation.
The Hazelwood Green site was once the home of Jones & Laughlin Steel Company (J&L Company) and later, LTV Steel. During its peak, J&L employed 12,000 workers between its South Side and Hazelwood sites, with the adjacent Hazelwood neighborhood growing to reach a peak population of 13,000 residents in 1960. The decline of Pittsburgh’s steel industry led to steel operations slowing in 1991, with the last facility closure on site in 1997. By 1998 only 6,000 residents remained in Hazelwood; today there are approximately 5,000 residents.
In 2002, Almono LP was formed by four Pittsburgh foundations to purchase the Hazelwood site from LTV Steel for $10 million. Today, Almono comprises three Pittsburgh foundations – the Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. To learn more, visit www.hazelwoodgreen.com.
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