We’re excited to share that Selina Bitting’s proposal for “Growing Pittsburgh” received an Award of Excellence from the AIA Pittsburgh in the Young Architects Studio Competition as part of Design Pittsburgh 2017. The competition challenged designers to develop ideas to advance equity within the constraints of an average block size in Pittsburgh.

Selina’s “Growing Pittsburgh” proposal advanced the idea of micro housing to make it more repeatable from both design and cost perspectives. Per her design statement, “Within the Micro-Apartment typology, there is also room for modifications. This variability means that, while this is a plug-in lot solution, it is able to spread to adjacent rooftops or odd sized spaces in order to bridge and create more housing as well as community spaces. Ultimately, this design seeks to improve upon the community which it serves and to aid in bringing in residents while keeping the old as well.” A full description can be read on the AIA Pittsburgh’s website.

Per the awards jury, “Most importantly, the project asks: What if we could grow and infill neighborhoods without displacing those that remain in these neighborhoods? How can we welcome new people into our community while leaving existing homes intact and available?”

We recently caught up with Selina to talk about her proposal, the City of Pittsburgh and more.

Congrats on your design proposal securing an award. Can you talk about that exciting moment a bit?

Selina: It was great to advance an idea that could really help the city of Pittsburgh. Equitable design is important and I think there are opportunities for design to make an important difference. After Design Pittsburgh, I was invited to share the idea at a conference on affordable housing in Harrisburg, PA and that group thought the idea had potential too.

How did you become interested in design as a career path?

It all started when my father told me I should go into architecture because he thought I would like it. He’s always known me best and he was right, I do love it. In school, I always enjoyed math and I loved drawing – architecture unites those passions in many ways.

Your proposal focused on equitable design. Is that an important topic to you?

It’s an important topic for me and for cities everywhere. In Pittsburgh right now, people are moving back into the city but there’s not necessarily a ton of thought about limiting displacement of those who have been living there. I’m very interested in continuing to help create spaces that bring people together as opposed to just putting up new housing without understanding the impacts.

What interest do you have outside of design and work?

I’m an active person. I love going to the gym and going for runs. I also love learning new languages. I grew up speaking Dutch, I’ve taken Spanish, and I’ve studied abroad in Italy, Korea and Japan. I love traveling, experiencing new cultures and trying to learn new languages everywhere I go.

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