Building History

The Leader in Sustainability

Owned by the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, designed by acclaimed architect — Rafael Viñoly — and managed by SMG, the DLCC was built on an urban brownfield location. This location was the original Convention Center's site, which reduced the cost of infrastructure improvements and provided existing transit accessibility.

Completed in 2003, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center became the largest LEED® Gold Certified convention center.

The environment was considered as the original Center was torn down. Over 95% of the demolition waste from the original Center was recycled by crushing it into useful fill material.

In purchasing materials for the new DLCC, the travel time of materials were considered when selecting a manufacturer – 50% of the new materials were produced within 500 miles of Pittsburgh thus reducing the carbon footprint. In addition, almost ten percent of the building materials are comprised of post-consumer recycled content.

The use of natural light and ventilation provides environmentally friendly surroundings for events. Natural light is in abundance at the DLCC where over 75% of the entire building may be naturally lit. The primary hall space of 236,000 square feet may be 100% naturally lit by skylights and glass walls. The exterior of the building uses reflective materials to allow for the building to capture existing city lights to reduce the amount of exterior lighting. The building is designed with a natural ventilation system which allows natural fresh air to cool Halls ABC. This feature is provided by the roof design and riverside louvers.

Water conservation is extremely important at the DLCC. An on-site water reclamation plant recycles all waste water which is reused as flushing water for toilets and urinals. The DLCC’s landscaping is indigenous to southwestern Pennsylvania. An aquifer, located 50 feet beneath the Center, provides make-up water for the building’s cooling towers, and is the water source for South Terrace's irrigation and the 10th Street Water Feature. These features have proven a 66% reduction in purchased water.

The LEED® Gold Ccertification (new construction) was awarded by US Green Building Council, the national standard for high-performance green buildings. The DLCC was awarded 39 points: 11 points for Indoor Environmental Quality, 7- Sustainable Sites, 5- Water Efficiency, 6- Energy & Atmosphere, 5- Materials & Resources, and 5- Innovation & Design.

The LEED® Platinum Certification (existing building) was awarded in 2012. The DLCC was awarded 84 points: 19 points for Sustainable Sites, 12- Water Efficiency, 21- Energy and Atmosphere, 9- Materials & Resources, 13- Indoor Environmental Quality, 6- Innovation in Operactions, and 4- Regional Priority.

To learn more about the DLCC's building performance, click here.

In 1990, what began as a vision by a group of determined government officials, corporate and non-profit foundation leaders became a reality in September 2003 at the official dedication ceremony of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Timeline - Year by Year


Additional native boxes established on North Terrace


Platinium LEED (R) certification, EBOM, by the US Green Building Council
South Terrace Green Roof was established
Monarch Waystation was established


South Terrace's green roof was planted
Opening of the Riverfront Plaza
evolve environment::architecture completed “Case Study: A Building in Operation [BiO] Study”


Construction started on the Riverfront Plaza


g1 (greenfirst) was trademarked


g1 (greenfirst) branding was introduced
Composting started


Levy Restaurant starts herb/vegetable garden boxes on North Terrace


Grand Opening of the DLCC
DLCC completed
Awarded Gold LEED® certification by the US Green Building Council.