A treasured cultural venue and landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Phipps Conservatory sits on 15 acres in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park. The world-renowned botanical gardens, centered by its Victorian greenhouse, were gifted to the city of Pittsburgh by steel and real-estate magnate, Henry Phipps, as a place to educate and entertain. Operating in perpetuity since its opening in December, 1893, Phipps Conservatory has grown and its many structured evolved during its 120-plus-year history.
In the early 2000s, the Conservatory went through a series of expansion and renovation projects, culminating with the opening of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL), a Platinum LEED certified structure and venue, notable in that it produces all the energy it consumes and reuses all the water it captures on site.
To construct the large-scale physical expansion the CSL represented and integrate it into the historic conservatory structures, without interrupting public access to the conservatory’s exhibitions, the City of Pittsburgh contracted Gateway to perform a complete survey of the entire 15-acre site before ground was broken on the CSL. Much more complex than establishing the physical property boundaries and topographical features of the site, Gateway’s team of surveyors, some with decades of experience, had to research, locate and document the location of the original building’s foundations, service mains and other structural elements, some dating to the original construction in the late 19th century.