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“Good location but no Pritzker prize.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of David Lawrence Convention Center

David Lawrence Convention Center
1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Downtown)
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Ranked #50 of 78 Attractions in Pittsburgh
Type: Convention Centers, Other
Attraction details
Jacksonville, Florida
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
41 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Good location but no Pritzker prize.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

The building has an impressive appearance that blends surprisingly well into the landscape of the three sister bridges.

The visual integration was certainly the idea behind Rafael Vinoly's choice of curvy roof lines and cantilevered column supports. The convention center was like an artistic memorial to all the bridges that connect Pittsburgh's neighborhoods.

The original idea was even more far-out: to let water run down the roof and into the Allegheny river. It was supposed to cool down the building. Too bad the wacky plan never got approved. It could have been performance art every night! But why watch this show when you could watch a pigskin being thrown around in the air?

On closer inspection the convention center has the functionality of a giant ferry ship. The lower levels contain the parking garage while the 'passengers' are channeled into the building via narrow doors.

And this has to be the strangest defect for such an imposing center. The entrances have about as much visual impact as a suburban office park, and about as inviting as a generic strip mall.

The sidewalks on the river side are a kind of stepchild in the urban design, overlooked, under-landscaped and stripped of the goofy sculptures one would expect from places with more artistic aspirations.

But all is not lost. Reclaim the building with outdoor LED lighting shows! Why not turn the center red when there are conventions inside. Or flash Steelers colors when the home team plays...

There is a lot of promise to this location but civic leaders can always leave it like it is, like a ferry ship that goes nowhere.

Visited April 2013
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39 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Needs better seating, and food was overpriced”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

Went here for the Home and Garden show. Overall it was a nice day. The convention center is awesome on the outside. Typical large open spaces that are indicative of convention centers. Seating wasn't too well thought out and the food options weren't impressive, yet the prices were exorbitant. I'd go back for another show, but would make sure to not go on an empty stomach.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Great Exterior; lackluster on the inside”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

This building is a fantastic addition to the Pittsburgh skyline. It overlooks the river and has some truly fantastic views. Parking is a cinch between the garage and the nearby lots for the Strip District. It is a super easy drive to the airport and is in the heart of downtown, yet close to the stadiums and food and entertainment.
I only wish the insides matched the outsides. Inside, be prepared for dizzying striped carpet, unforgiving concrete floors, and very little in the way of seating for the elderly or disabled.
I take my family to the Home and Garden Show every spring and we're always at a loss for finding a place for the older folks to sit down and relax their muscles. For a place that boasts miles and miles of the best in Home and Garden, there isn't much in the name of guest relaxation!
Also, plan to eat elsewhere unless you like low-quality stadium fare!

Visited March 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weirton, West Virginia
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
29 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013 via mobile

The convention center is probably the best and most reliable place to park downtown. Sure the rates are slightly higher, but you get to park under cover.

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Lisbon, Ohio
Top Contributor
151 reviews 151 reviews
55 attraction reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“A decent conference setting that could be much better”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

The exhibit hall(s) are great, but parking is a nightmare. because parking in downtown Pittsburgh is sparse, the attached garage is not only used by commuters, the garage has a lot of reserved, lease parking. If you do not arrive by 7 am, you may not get a space.

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