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Monroeville Civic Center

Monroeville, Pennsylvania

Captions

1982

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The town of Monroeville is some 13 miles east of Pittsburgh. It is basically a bedroom community with a population of 30,000 people. It has the misfortune to be at the intersection of two major east-west highways with their predictable snarl of over- and underpasses, cloverleafs, and the rest that is now an all-too-common part of the American landscape.

This area of Pennsylvania is particularly hilly which  provides its visual interest, but makes development difficult. In 1982 the town, together with the school district, undertook a competition that would provide for new facilities for town government. It also included a number of cultural activities and athletic facilities that could be shared with the school district, which already had substantial buildings adjacent to the site. That the two would join forces was an unusually insightful, and ambitious, undertaking.

The competition brief stated: “In the hope of creating a worthier focus for community life, the municipality and the Gateway School District sponsored the competition for a civic center.”

The town facilities included a new town hall, police and service areas. The general public portion was to have a performing arts facility, a library and bookstore, a modest exhibition area and multipurpose recreational facilities. The athletic areas were to include a swimming pool, a diving pool and a therapy pool.

The Seligmann scheme, done together with Joel Bostick, grouped the program in a linear bar that wrapped the highway edge of the site and presented itself to the highway with a rather defensive facade. Within the zone was a large outdoor recreation area including a lake and considerable tree planting.

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