David L. Lawrence Convention Center

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The David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLLCC) is a 1,500,000-square-foot (139,000 m 2) convention, conference and exhibition building in downtown Pittsburgh in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The initial David L. Lawrence Convention Center was completed on the site in 1981, but as part as a renewal plan the new completely redesigned center was opened in 2003 and funded in conjunction with 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. It is owned by the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, P.C., Dewhurst MacFarlane & Partners and Goldreich Engineering P.C., the $354 million riverfront landmark contains 313,400 sq ft (29,100 m 2) of exhibit space (236,900 sq ft (22,000 m 2) of which is column-free), 76,500 sq ft (7,100 m 2) of additional exhibit space, a 31,610 sq ft (2,940 m 2) ballroom, 51 meeting rooms, two 250-seat lecture halls, teleconference and telecommunications capabilities and 4,500 sq ft (420 m 2) 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. 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 m 2). 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 (serving from 1946 through 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.


Fatal collapse
On Tuesday, February 12, 2002, less than two weeks before its scheduled opening, a 165-ton truss that was under construction collapsed, killing one man and injuring two other workers. The truss was part of the second phase of construction, scheduled for opening in 2003, and therefore did not delay the February 23 opening of phase one.

Partial collapse
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. 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.

Event history

  • Urban League Convention July 26”“30. President George W. Bush was a speaker.

  • National Rifle Association Convention April 15”“18. Vice President Dick Cheney and Ted Nugent were speakers.
  • Election Rally 31 July President George W. Bush was a speaker.
  • United Methodist Church National Conference April 27-May 7.
  • SC2004; The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis November 6”“12.


  • Anthrocon June 15”“18 The first year of Anthrocon's relocation from Philadelphia.
  • All-Star Fanfest July 16”“17.

  • Women’s Health & the Environment Conference April 20. Fran Drescher and Teresa Heinz among others attended.

  • Alliance for American Manufacturing convention April 14. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attended.
  • U.S. Chess Federation Nationals May 8”“15
  • Democratic Party Platform Convention, August 9: Governors Janet Napolitano, Howard Dean and Deval Patrick among others attended.

  • Annual March Meeting for the American Physical Society March 16”“20.
  • Eighth International Conference on Bipolar Disorder June 28”“29.
  • Forrest L. Wood Cup Family Fun Zone and Awards Ceremony July 30-August 2.
  • American Philatelic Society's StampShow August 6”“9
  • Netroots Nation convention Aug. 13-16: President Bill Clinton and former DNC Chairman and Vermont Governor Howard Dean among others attended.
  • Pittsburgh Golf Show golf show
  • National Truck Driving Championships August 21.
  • AFL-CIO Convention, Sept 13-Sept 17.: President Barack Obama and Caroline Kennedy attended.
  • G-20 Convention September 24”“25. President Barack Obama and several other world leaders attended.
  • BMES National Conference

  • National Rifle Association Convention April 29-May 1.
  • American Society for Quality Annual Meeting. May 16”“18.
  • Anthrocon June 23”“26.

Fictional portrayals
  • Three Rivers , the CBS medical drama, used the convention center for some scenes depicting the hosptial.
  • Justified , the FX Network drama, used the center for interior shots of the "airport".
  • Smith , a CBS crime drama that showcases the convention center's interior waterway during Ray Liotta's and Amy Smart's escape chase scene with the Pittsburgh Police. The exterior riverside of the center is shown prominently as the gang transfers to a speed boat on the Allegheny River.


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Building Activity

  • Frank Pinciotti
    Frank Pinciotti commented
    I worked on this project. The stories I could tell...
    about 6 years ago via Mobile
  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com