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Request for Qualifications: Temporary installation ‘TBD’ under the Ft. Duquesne Bridge

By November 2, 2017December 18th, 2017Blog

Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Summary

***The submission period is now closed. The deadline to submit qualifications was 12pm/noon EST, December 1, 2017. The three semi-finalists will be publicly announced in January 2018.***

Riverlife seeks qualifications from public artists, landscape architects, architects, graphic designers and/or other professional creative teams to design and install a temporary public installation under the Ft. Duquesne Bridge along the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, PA.  It is intended that the project will be installed for at least one year, starting in the summer of 2018. The installation will be a continuation of Riverlife’s ‘to be determined’ (‘tbd’) project.

Three semi-finalists will be selected and awarded $5,000 each to develop a design concept. One winner will be selected and awarded $60,000 to finalize the design concept, purchase materials, and install the project.

Download a printable PDF of the full Request for Proposals or click through the tabs below for more information.

Image by Maranie Staab

Site context + Project background

Riverlife is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit organization that promotes, enhances, and activates Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. ‘tbd’ is an ongoing endeavor by Riverlife to activate the underutilized public riverfront underneath the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, along the Allegheny River.

The ‘tbd’ site is centrally located in Downtown Pittsburgh, along the Allegheny Riverfront Trail and Three Rivers Park, and adjacent to Point State Park. Point State Park is a 36-acre public park located at the confluence of the city’s three rivers. Point State Park is considered the heart of the city, however the ‘tbd’ space, under the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, has been neglected and underutilized. The cavernous space is defined by an overhead bridge, a long 800’ wall, and large bridge support columns. The entire space is visible from across the river on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. The property is owned by both PennDOT and the City of Pittsburgh.

Beck’s work spans the 750-foot wall under the bridge on-ramp and was painted by dozens of volunteers over a six-week period.

Beck’s work spans the 750-foot wall under the bridge on-ramp and was painted by dozens of volunteers over a six-week period.

For the past three summers, in partnership with PennDOT and the City of Pittsburgh, Riverlife has initiated and led multiple activation projects at the site. Each project has highlighted the need for continued public amenities and recreational opportunities along Pittsburgh’s riverfronts.

The summer of 2015’s successful completion of “Adjutant,” a 750’ temporary mural by Kim Beck, painted with the help of 150 volunteers over the course of six weeks, began the conversation about improving this urban void. Kim Beck was selected through a competitive artist selection process. In the summer of 2016 the ‘tbd’ project was continued through a partnership with Riverlife and the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School (CAPA). Students exhibited a collection of their senior student work, inspired by the riverfront location. The artwork was displayed as a pop-up gallery on a scaffolding system that wrapped the bridge columns.

"Displaced" photos by Maranie Staab are shown in front of Kim Beck's "Adjutant" mural.

“Displaced” photos by Maranie Staab are shown in front of Kim Beck’s “Adjutant” mural.

This year, Riverlife worked with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Three Rivers Arts Festival (TRAF) to coordinate the continuation of ‘tbd’ for the Summer of 2017. In collaboration with TRAF’s juried artist selection, Riverlife and the Cultural Trust invited local photographer Maranie Staab to exhibit her photography on the scaffolding sytem on the bridge columns. Maranie Staab is a Pittsburgh-based, independent photographer and journalist working to document human rights issues at the periphery of conflict. The photography debuted at the beginning of TRAF on June 2, 2017 and remained in place through October 2017.


With an eye toward refreshing the space entirely, Riverlife has developed the following goals for the next iteration of the ‘tbd’ project.

  • Replace the “Adjutant” mural and the scaffolding with a project that reimagines the space as one cohesive place. The project can make use of the wall, the ground, and the bridge columns. Paint or attachments will need to be approved by PennDOT.
  • Develop, with Riverlife, a creative engagement component to the project that includes gathering feedback from stakeholders during the design and installation process. After installation, there will be opportunities to work with Riverlife to coordinate events and programming within the space.
  • Maintain the use of the riverfront trail, while providing new opportunities for users to engage with the space.
  • Provide opportunities for gathering.


Riverlife has developed an iterative process to select a final project team. Based on feedback from the community and riverfront stakeholders, the process begins with this request for qualifications (RFQ) to artists, landscape architects, architects, graphic designers and others who have experience with similarly scaled temporary public installation projects and expertise with projects that incorporate community engagement.

Selection Process

The selection process is divided into three phases:

  • Phase 1: Semi-finalist Selection and Stakeholder Engagement – Three teams will be selected as semi-finalists based on the RFQ submissions. Once selected, the three teams will be awarded $5,000 (See Phase 1 and 2 budget) to participate in a site-visit and meetings in January 2018 with key stakeholders and community members. The teams will be required to participate in an engagement session and will be judged on their ability to sensitively listen and address community ideas and concerns.
  • Phase 2: Winner Selection – After the site-visit and community engagement, each team will have 4 weeks to develop a site-specific design proposal that will be presented to a jury in the February 2018. One winning proposal will be selected.
  • Phase 3: Final Design and Installation – The selected team will continue to engage stakeholders and finalize the design concept. The project will need to be approved by PennDOT and the City of Pittsburgh Art Comisssion. The project will be installed in the spring of 2018 and debut to the public in the summer of 2018. The project will remain in place for at least one year. After installation, there will be opportunties to work with Riverlife to coordinate events and programming within the space.


  • RFQs due – 12:00 pm/noon EST, Friday, December 1, 2017
  • Semi-finalist selection – Week of December 11, 2017
  • Semi-finalist site-visit and engagement sessions – Week of January 22, 2018
  • Finalist presentations and winner selection – Week of February 26, 2018
  • Project development and approval – March – May 2018
  • Project installation – June 2018


Phases 1 and 2

Site-visits and stakeholder engagement, $5,000 per semi-finalist team (total for both phases).

Phase 3

Project design, materials, and installation fee, $60,000 for selected final team.

Jury and RFQ Submission Requirements


The jury is comprised of representatives who have expertise in temporary activation, public art, programming, community engagement, urban design, and riverfront amenities.

RFQ Submission Requirements

Teams are required to submit one PDF (10MB max) that must contain the following:

  • A statement of intent, stating the team’s interest and experience in developing innovative temporary public installations and expertise with projects that incorporate community engagement (1,000 words max)
  • A description of the submitting team (500 words max)
  • Resumes for each team member (1 page per team member)
  • Work samples of relevant past projects (10 pages max). Please reference team member participation on each project.

Applications will be accepted via email until 12:00 PM EST on December 1, 2017.

Applications should be emailed to with the subject line “tbd RFQ – NAME OF YOUR TEAM”

Riverlife will not consider application submissions that are received after the deadline.

Riverlife reserves the right to adjust the project timeline.


All questions should be submitted via email to Telephone or social media inquiries will not be accepted.

More information regarding Riverlife’s mission and past projects, including past iterations of ‘tbd,’ is available on Riverlife’s website