Point State Park Fountain Rehabilitation – City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA

Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) served as the lead design consultant on the rehabilitation of the fountain in Point State Park, the crown jewel of the iconic skyline of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This $11 million restoration was the final phase of a $35 million project to renovate the 35-acre park, a National Historic Landmark. Our team’s services on the project included:

  • Restoration and enhancement of the fountain’s central water column and outer basin ring
  • Construction of a new inner basin ring with an “infinity edge” feature that makes the pool at the fountain’s base and the rivers’ confluence appear to be the same body of water
  • Installation of new state-of-the-art scalable controls and pump equipment to facilitate the fountain’s 500,000 gallons of circulating water
  • Installation of programmable fountain lighting capable of colorized themes
  • Renovations to the restroom and pump house
  • Restoration of the Great Lawn Area
  • Renovation of ADA accessibility to the fountain

Taming the Forces of Nature

Because of its location just above the normal flow of the Allegheny, Ohio and Monogahela Rivers, the fountain has repeatedly been flooded with 15 feet of muddy water. The original control equipment was also exposed to extreme humidity and temperature variations from the fountain’s wet well.
To protect this restored fountain and its equipment from future damage, our design team added a second floor to the pump house to elevate the electrical distribution, variable frequency drives, and automatic control systems above the floodplain. In addition, we designed the new fountain jets and drains with the ability to be plugged or valved to prevent mud from clogging the water circulation system. We also installed a bypass drain to allow flood water entering the fountain basin to drain directly back to the river as the water recedes.
The fountain’s location where three rivers meet makes it very susceptible to high winds, which previously caused its 150-foot-high central column to spray onto visitors. To combat this problem, HRG’s design team included anemometers that automatically limit center column height during light to moderate winds. These anemometers will also completely shut down the center column under high wind conditions but allow the peacock nozzles and infinity edge flow to remain in full operation.

Making Pittsburgh’s “Crown Jewel” Shine

New energy-efficient LED lighting allows the historic fountain to be set with color sequences that coordinate with community events, and flood resistant solar lighting along the perimeter of the fountain provides a distinct definition between the edge of the fountain and the edge of the wharf.
While this produces a dazzling view of the fountain at night, the daytime view of the fountain is just as spectacular thanks to the installation of an elevated weir that produces a vanishing edge around its entire perimeter. This weir creates a waterfall that can be seen from every perspective and produces an “infinity” edge that makes it appear as though the fountain’s pool and the confluence of the three rivers are one body of water.

Client / Owner

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Bureau of Facility Design & Construction
8th Floor Rachel Carson Street Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17105

Project Highlights

  • $11 million restoration of a major tourist attraction in the region.
  • Construction of an “infinity edge” that makes the fountain’s pool appear to be one body with the three rivers.
  • State-of-the-art controls to mitigate impacts from wind and pump equipment to mitigate impacts from flooding.
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting that can be programmed with color sequences to coordinate with community events and flood-resistant solar lighting along the fountain’s perimeter.
  • Preservation of the park’s historic character as a National Historic Landmark.

Related People

Contact an HRG Land Development Professional for more information on this project or related services.

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