Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Maintenance Complex

This new maintenance complex supports the highway and vehicle maintenance needs of the newly opened Southern Beltway, which provides convenient travel around the Pittsburgh metro area. Buildings include administrative, maintenance, storage, salt storage, and support facilities for a fully functional, highly efficient and sustainable operation.

Location:
Allegheny and Washington Counties, PA

Size:
10 Acre Site, 606,000-SF

Services:
Architecture
Interior Design
Building Systems Engineering
Project Services
Security Risk Management

Year / Status
2021
Built

Approach

The architectural vision merges aesthetics and form to thoughtfully advance function in this highly operational industrial building.  Connecting to the building's location on a raised site with rolling hills visible in all directions, the design concept is inspired by the surrounding peaks and valleys, and old barn structures that populate the Western Pennsylvania landscape.


The barn shape provided the ideal volume to accommodate the functionality required within each building. The concept is carried through to the materiality selected. Rainscreen panels produce a weathered and varied wood finish, like an old barn while providing modern efficiencies of continuous insulation on the building exterior.  A wainscoting base not only adds a visual layer of interest, but also protects the base of the building from the transport of large trucks and anchors the building to the site. Multiple offset and reverse gables add depth and scale, transforming one long, continuous ridge into defined areas of the building, including office and maintenance.

With the site situated on a steep grade, conditions made it especially challenging to obtain the needed clearances to accommodate large snow plows and other maintenance vehicles.  Additionally, as the site is located in both Allegheny and Washington Counties, the design needed to account for all sanitary and sewer collection within one county. The design solution fit the elongated office and maintenance building and attached truck shelter, nearly 45,000-SF, into a building mass that not only fit the limited site but was able to include improvements in layout efficiency for the PA Turnpike.


Impact

Supporting more efficient operations and the Turnpike’s values that include stewardship of the environment, sustainable systems and design features are incorporated into the design of the complex.  As the facility uses a high volume of water to wash vehicles and clean up after storms, one big challenge to more sustainable operations was water usage. The design addresses this challenge with rainwater collection from the roofs of the complex’s main buildings, bringing harvested water to an inside storage tank to supplement water usage.  

Geothermal energy, outside air recovery, and enhanced access to natural light are also into the sustainability approach to support more efficient operations.