The Design Center is a nonprofit organization that has been improving the quality of life in the Pittsburgh region by encouraging good design and planning of the built environment for more than 45 years.
Originally known as the Pittsburgh Architects Workshop, the Design Center was established in 1968 and incorporated in 1975 by local architects who provided pro-bono design services to community organizations, individuals, and businesses who could not afford to hire an architect.
In 1987, the organization changed its name to the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh and its operating model — acting as a broker to provide grants, technical assistance and education to help individuals and organizations purchase and use professional design and planning services. In 2011, the organization re-branded itself as the Design Center and established a new website and a Facebook page called “Design Allies.”
We have contributed significantly to the City of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region with early intervention funding through the award of more than 250 Design Fund grants; providing nearly 2000 individual consultations with residential, commercial property, nonprofit, and institutional owners by architects, landscape architects, and interior designers); hosting the Design Excellence Lecture Series and Design in Action workshops; participating in the Fayette County Growth Fund Advisory Committee; producing the New Urban Code and Strategic Park Planning processes; designing a pilot project to provide assistance to historic properties in Gettysburg, Hollidaysburg, and York; creating the Coalition for Parks and Greenspace; providing active involvement in neighborhood business district revitalization projects; completing the Successful Catalytic Development Study; and and serving as founding members of the Pittsburgh Civic Design Coalition and the Community Development Collaborative.
Today, the organization has shortened its name to Design Center and focuses its efforts on:
- providing support, guidance, and connections to improve sites and buildings;
- investing in early stages of community planning and development;
- engaging and motivating individuals, organizations, and neighborhoods.
We do this through our three core programs: Design Fund, Design Consults, and Design Allies.