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David L. Lawrence Convention Center

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Title: David L. Lawrence Convention Center  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pittsburgh/On this day, 2009 G-20 Pittsburgh summit, Pittsburgh, Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, PNC Park
Collection: 1980S Architecture in the United States, 2000S Architecture in the United States, Allegheny River, Buildings and Structures in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Convention Centers in Pennsylvania, Culture of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Event Venues Established in 1981, Government Buildings Completed in 1981, Government Buildings Completed in 2003, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certified Buildings, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold Certified Buildings, Municipal Authorities in Pennsylvania, Rafael Viñoly Buildings
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

David L. Lawrence Convention Center
David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh
Address 1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Location Downtown Pittsburgh
Owner Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
Built 1979-1981
Renovated 2000-2003
Opened February 7, 1981
Construction cost
$373 million ($489 million today)
Enclosed space
 • Total space 1,450,000 sq ft (134,700 m2)
 • Exhibit hall floor 330,000 sq ft (30,700 m2)
 • Breakout/meeting 77,952 sq ft (7,200 m2)
 • Ballroom 31,610 sq ft (2,900 m2)
Parking 700-car parking garage[1]
Public transit access Wood Street
The exhibit halls, seen from the Veterans Bridge.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLLCC) is a 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) convention, conference and exhibition building in downtown Pittsburgh in the U.S. commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is served by two exits on Interstate 579. The initial David L. Lawrence Convention Center was completed on the site on February 7, 1981, but as part of a renewal plan the new, completely redesigned center was opened in 2003 and funded in conjunction with nearby Heinz Field and PNC Park. It sits on the southern shoreline of the Allegheny River. It is the first LEED-certified convention center in North America and one of the first in the world.[2] It is owned by the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County[3]


  • Abstract 1
  • Naming 2
  • Incidents 3
  • Notable Events 4
    • 1970s 4.1
    • 1980s 4.2
    • 1990s 4.3
    • 2000s 4.4
    • 2010s 4.5
  • Transportation Access 5
  • National Television 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


In the early 1970s a site on the opposite side of Downtown Pittsburgh was considered for a modern convention center, on the shores of the Monongahela River. On September 20, 1971 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania failed to approve that location, and site work slowly began on the present site as the city and county submitted it to the commonwealth on December 10, 1974. There was a proposal in mid-1974 to locate the center at the then transitioning Penn Station.[4] The center had its ceremonial groundbreaking on June 8, 1977.[5][6][7] On February 7, 1981 the original $35 million ($100 million today) structure opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Richard Caliguiri, County Commissioner Tom Foerster and Governor Dick Thornburgh.[8]

After the Commonwealth approved funding for the redesigned center on February 3, 1999 Rafael Viñoly Architects, P.C. was chosen as the designer for the modern center on February 28, 1999. Viñoly along with Dewhurst MacFarlane & Partners and Goldreich Engineering P.C. constructed the $354 million ($501.2 million today) riverfront landmark to contain 313,400 sq ft (29,100 m2) of exhibit space (236,900 sq ft (22,000 m2) of which is column-free), 76,500 sq ft (7,100 m2) of additional exhibit space, a 31,610 sq ft (2,940 m2) ballroom, 51 meeting rooms, two 250-seat lecture halls, teleconference and telecommunications capabilities and 4,500 sq ft (420 m2) of retail space (currently in development). The architect, Viñoly, began the design with a goal in mind of achieving the status of a "green" building. In 2003, the building was awarded Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first such convention center in the U.S. and the largest "green" building in the world.[2]

The current building replaced the former convention center of the same name that was constructed in 1981. The old convention center was 131,000 sq ft (12,000 m2) and lacked a ballroom. All of the old building was demolished to make way for the current structure which was built on the same site.

The building won the 2004 Supreme Award for structural engineering excellence from the Institution of Structural Engineers.

The convention center is home to prominent conventions, such as Anthrocon, the Pittsburgh RV Show, Pittsburgh Boat Show, Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show, Piratefest, and the acclaimed Pittsburgh International Auto Show.


The center—though completely a structure of 2003 construction—chose to retain the name of the earlier convention center on the site completed in 1981 in honor of David Leo Lawrence (June 18, 1889—November 21, 1966). Lawrence was an American politician who served as the Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania from 1959 to 1963, only retiring because of the state's then term limit of 1 per governor. He is to date the only mayor of Pittsburgh to be elected Governor of Pennsylvania. Previously, he had been the longest tenured mayor of Pittsburgh (1946-1959) and the primary force behind Pittsburgh's urban renewal projects including the Mellon Arena, Gateway Center, Fort Pitt Tunnel and Point State Park. He was Pennsylvania's first Catholic Governor (at the time a major breakthrough for an Irish Catholic), and a major force in the national Democratic Party from the 1930s to the 1960s. Historians credit him with among other behind-the-scenes labors, leading a compromise at the 1944 National Democratic Convention that eventually made Harry Truman president. As well as healing a divided national convention of 1960 that resulted in the John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson ticket, it is for these reasons as well as his work in the state and the city that he was dubbed "kingmaker" by party leaders.


On February 13, 1982 a Car Expo Mercury display featuring a 130 lb. Leesburg, Florida cougar named Tom Tom mauled a 9 year old Upper St. Clair boy before Pittsburgh Police officers shot the animal dead. The boy survived after being treated at Allegheny General Hospital for several days.[9][10]

On February 12, 2002, less than two weeks before the scheduled opening of the new center,[11] a 165-ton truss that was under construction collapsed, killing one and injuring two workers.[12] The truss was part of the second phase of construction, scheduled for opening in 2003, and did not delay the February 23 opening of phase one.

On February 5, 2007, a section of concrete floor from the second floor loading dock collapsed under the weight of a tractor-trailer and fell onto the water feature area below.[13] There were no injuries. The building remained closed until investigations by the contractors were completed on March 9, the fault was repaired, and the convention center reopened.

Notable Events


  • June 8, 1977: Groundbreaking at 10th Street and Ft. Duquesne Way.




2009 G-20 Pittsburgh summit (September 24–25, 2009)


Transportation Access

The Convention Center is served by exits on Interstate 579, Interstate 279 and Interstate 376 as well as its location within five blocks of both the Wood Street and Penn Station transit stops on the Pittsburgh subway system.

Penn Station also serves Amtrak, providing regular direct inter-city rail links.

Both the Megabus intercity service and the local Port Authority of Allegheny County buses also stop at the center.

National Television


  • Toker, Franklin (2007). Buildings of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh: Chicago: Society of Architectural Historians; Santa Fe: Center for American Places ; Charlottesville: In association with the University of Virginia Press.  
  1. ^ "DLLCC Directions and Parking". Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "David L. Lawrence Convention Center.". David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  3. ^ "HISTORY". Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. 9/1/09. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Retrieved 10/1/2012. 
  10. ^ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Retrieved 10/1/2012. 
  11. ^ Authority director tries to calm public's fears after convention center fatality - Saturday, February 16, 2002
  12. ^ Cause of collapse unknown, official says - The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Saturday, February 16, 2002
  13. ^ [13] -
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ [14]
  18. ^ Kaitlynn Riely (20 June 2013). "Invention convention INPEX gathers in Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 26 December 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  19. ^ [15]
  20. ^
  21. ^ Sheehan, Andrew (11/1/1988). "134 seat theater to show city film". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 10/1/2012. 
  22. ^ [16]
  23. ^ [17]
  24. ^
  25. ^ Peters, Gerhard. "Remarks at a Rally for Democratic Candidates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania". The American Presidency Project. University of California at Santa Barbara. Retrieved 10/1/2012. 
  26. ^ [18]
  27. ^
  28. ^ Freedom's Steel 2004 (Annual Meeting 2004) - The National Rifle Association of America
  29. ^ "SC2004". 2004. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  30. ^ "FanFest promises to capture the imagination". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 7, 2006. 
  31. ^ "Steelers tell jokes, share tales at 75th year gala". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 5, 2007. 
  32. ^ "On the Steelers: Chuck Noll's is a story worth telling". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 14, 2012. 
  33. ^ AFL-CIO 2009 Convention - AFL-CIO | American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations
  34. ^—or-bust-this-oct-19-pittsburgh/
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Important National Airline Industry Meetings Convening in Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh International Airport. Retrieved 10/1/2012. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ "For Millennials, Pittsburgh provides place to tackle the world's problems at One Young World summit". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 14, 2012. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ "National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives convention comes to city". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 2, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Steel City Tattoo convention leaves its mark on Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 15, 2013. 
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ PRESS TOUR JOURNAL: 'Three Rivers' set visit - Jul 31 2009, 11:15 PM
  46. ^ FX pilot based on Elmore Leonard's "Fire in the Hole" filming in region - Monday, June 15, 2009
  47. ^ [19]
  48. ^ [20]

External links

  • Official website
  • U.S. Green Building Council
  • G-20 to Meet at David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA - Dexigner
  • Newspaper article on the opening ceremonies
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