Daylit Convention Center


Pittsburgh, PA




Rafael Vinoly

Associated Project

0025 – digital Feinknopf 7593 N
David L. Lawrence Convention Center

The first daylit LEED certified Convention Center

As the first LEED Gold convention center, and the first of its kind to achieve LEED Platinum certification, this building defined a new environmental chapter in Pittsburgh’s rich industrial history. In a major departure from typical convention center designs, daylight is the primary source of illumination throughout the grand exhibit hall and perimeter prefunction areas.

Based on scale-model studies, a shading system of sails and panels was devised to create a “solar dimming” system. The system adjusts to provide full exposure to daylight and sunlight, sunlight diffusion, or complete blackout of the entire hall. A fabric membrane diffuses direct sun at the curving southern roof section. Overlapping, motorized shades control daylight at the strip skylights, and the vertical glazing can be blacked out with large sails coiled onto vertical masts. The public rooftop pedestrian bridge borrows light from the exhibit hall. The absence of visible luminaires allows this expressive structural form to be boldly emphasized, with discreet integration making the light more important than the light fixtures.