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Reuse the Igloo (Pittsburgh CIvic Arena)

Throughout the first half of the 20th century Pittsburgh was known for its industrial innovation. This often came at a cost in terms of destruction our environment. In 1958, as part of the 200th Anniversary of Pittsburgh, ground was broken for this icon of modern design and engineering. It was a symbol of our recovery with its innovative movable domed roof showing off the clean air and skyline. 

The Arena was designed as part of a visionary but misguided “Cultural Acropolis” for the Symphony akin to New York’s Lincoln Center, edged by then-trendy modern high rise residential towers offering clean new housing with the promise of light, space and views. Of course, there is another side of that story, the failure of urban renewal that still haunts residents of the Hill today. (See Chris Moore’s Wiley Avenue Days). 

Our Vision:
Keys to our future competitiveness will be about conservation, local job creation, and rebuilding green. So let’s imagine that the stainless steel-clad Igloo could become unique and a destination for visitors to learn of our innovative ways. It could become our answer to Chicago’s Millennium Park or New York's High Line. 

In order to visualize this transformation, imagine that we would remove most of the interior seating “bowl” and all of the non-structural stuff of the old arena. Now, stripped to its structural elegance, we would have the ability to build new uses within it (imagine a hermit crab!) and still have room for the coolest park around with a roof that opens in summer and closes in winter! 

Imagine this circular park with lush landscape in summer and the recycled Pen’s rink in winter. It could have a small amphitheater next to the rink for jazz, Cirque du Soleil, Squonk Opera—all complementing the business for the new Arena. Imagine a hip “destination hotel,” retail, restaurants and a surrounding residential neighborhood with views every bit as dramatic as Mt. Washington. A key feature would be a reconnected Wiley Avenue connecting the City to the Hill once again.

This would not be an isolated place like it is today, but a truly “civic” space fully integrated with surrounding new development as a NEW symbol befitting Pittsburgh’s rebirth as a place of innovation.

go to to learn more!

This petition was delivered to:
  • Governor
    Thomas Corbett
  • Senator
    Pat Toomey
  • State Representative
    Jake Wheatley
  • State Senator
    Wayne Fontana
  • State Senator
    Jim Ferlo
  • Senator
    Robert Casey
  • Representative
    Mike Doyle
  • County Executive
    Dan Onorato
  • Councilperson
    Dan Lavelle
  • Mayor
    Luke Ravenstahl
  • Councilperson
    Natalia Rudiak
  • Councilperson
    Theresa Kail-Smith
  • Councilperson
    Bruce Kraus
  • Councilperson
    Ricky V. Burgess
  • Councilperson
    Patrick Dowd
  • Pennsylvania Governor

Robert Pfaffmann started this petition with a single signature, and now has 295 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.