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Project

University of Pittsburgh, The Assembly

In 1915, this Ford Model T assembly plant was at the cutting edge of industry. Now it’s been transformed into a center for life-science research and innovation.

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Project Details

Project Partners
ZGF Architects & Turner Construction
Owner
Wexford Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Completion Date
Area
525,000 ft²
Number of Stories
8
The Assembly at the University of Pittsburgh. Courtesy ZGF Architects

Overview

In 1915, this Ford Model T assembly plant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was at the cutting edge of industry. Now it’s been transformed into the Assembly, a center for life-science research and innovation. With laboratory and office space, event facilities, and retail and dining, the 525,000 square-foot center serves both researchers and members of the surrounding community.

We provided structural design services to ZGF Architects for the adaptive reuse of the historic structures and a new addition.

Highlights

  • The eight-story main building originally housed a showroom and automobile assembly areas. Its 14.5-foot floor-to-floor height and thick floor slabs make it ideal for laboratory use. A new 190,000 square-foot addition completes the development.
  • An adjacent six-story “crane shed” was built to lift parts directly from trains to the main building. It has been repurposed into a light-filled “collaboration zone,” where researchers can gather to share ideas.
  • The adaptive reuse project also preserves the character of the original Ford plant, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018. 
  • Additional amenities for the facility include retail space, an atrium, loading dock, an auditorium and parking for 230 cars.

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