The Eco Designer’s Guild is a group of professional designers based in the city of Pittsburgh, who are working together to inform, empower and inspire the community and its leaders to further sustainable practices at home, in urban and green spaces, and the collective culture. The eDG also addresses social problems spanning issues of green practices, community revitalization and promoting local, organic foods.


The Green+Screen project is an effort to revitalize a once vibrant main street corridor through the installation of environmental art projects that both mask blighted urban facades and promote sustainable practices in the community. The project began with a strategic masterplan identifying 30+ urban voids along the main street of Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Each G+S project involves design research, concept generation, design development, engineering, construction, and installation performed by a team of volunteers comprised of designers, engineers, architects, landscape architects, artists, and writers.

Spak Brothers Installation

The project illustrated below shows the ongoing evolution of a project for an all to common landscape void surrounding a parking lot of a local restaurant. The design process has evolved from historical site research and has been through several design iterations. The project aims to be an artistic and whimsical interpretation of a common bus stop bench and median landscaping.  Construction is currently ongoing with hopes of the final installation being completed before winter of 2011.

Project and Image Credits:

Project Design, Facilitation, and Construction: Matt Zambelli, Rebecca Mizikar, Josh Lederer, Myles Geyman, and Catherine Peek

Modeling and Rendering: Matt Zambelli

Spak Brother’s site during initial design phase. Project area is the landscape median surrounding the parking lot.

Perspective rendering of our first design concept which was an artistic abstraction of a typical aluminum fence morphing into a bus stop bench and shelter.

Birds eye rendering illustrating the transition of fence to bench and the resultant shadow cast by the proposal.

Rendering showing the subtle morphing of straight fence picket to curvilinear bench seat.

Rendering of “roller coaster” side fence that would utilize material left over from the curved bench pickets.

Perspective rendering of our second design concept which was inspired by the discover of second hand oak louvers purchased at Construction Junction.

Close up rendering of the main bench illustrating the cascading of oak slats to form a fluid bench of three different seat heights divided among four different seating sections.

Rendering of side bench and art piece utilizing extra slats. The art piece represents the range of movement from bench seat-back rest-seat that changes with vantage point.

Perspective walking up the sidewalk to Penn Ave which illustrates the play on vantage point produced by the art piece.

Exploded rendering illustrating the specific parts comprising the main bench structure.

Night time rendering showing a potential light structure to illuminate the seating area and display the intersections street names.

Bench seat mock up to test the ideal slat spacing and back rest angle.

Matt running the excavator to remove existing soil for the bench footers and topsoil addition.

Mitch from Summit Academy spreading the concrete as it is being poured.

Mitch and Rebecca gather a crowd while leveling the concrete bench pad.

Summit Academy guys getting some on the job training in concrete finishing.

Mitch putting up caution tape around the finished bench pad.

Nested bench supports exported from Rhino3D for Water Jet cutting.

Close up of the CNC Water Jet in action cutting 3/8 in steel.

View of the full 4′ x 8′ steel sheet cut with the fist support removed for welding.

Prep welding of the base plate to be attached to the vertical bench support.

Full line of custom bench supports CNC cut and fabricated.

Supports inlaid to backrest slats to keep visual repetition

Slat stacking for the straight section of bench

1:1  mock up of thebench seat assembly

First transition assembly of the large bench

First two sections of the small bench on display at Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery

Two proud team members testing the bench out

Small bench installed on site

Installation of the large bench completely pre fabricated off site

Hammer drilling for bench support anchor bolts

Large bench secured in place

Rear view highlighting the bench porosity and reclaimed wood

Installed benchs awaiting a corner element