Confluence: Portal to the Point

Pittsburgh, PA
  • Waterfront
  • Ecological Design
  • NY ASLA Honor Award, 2012

Created for the Portal to the Point competition, this project re-imagines Pittsburgh’s Point State Park as a hub of learning and a gateway to visualizing and celebrating regional environmental health. The “portal” to the park is reworked with a field of lights embedded in a platform across a historic reflecting pool. The lighting indicates local water quality through color changes, manifesting as an immersive experience within the portal and creates a subtle glow that can be seen from afar as a beacon and indicator of river health. The platform shines blue on days of good water quality and turns orange as an alert for poor water quality. Water levels in the reflecting pool change in tandem with the water levels of Pittsburgh’s three rivers, abstracting real-time flow data into a shifting landscape. As visitors enter the portal, their shadows are cast onto its vaults by the lighting in the platform below, where fish appear and disappear as moving patterns of light. In this way, the portal displays a confluence of schools of fish and schools of people.



The Living