di ·chot ·o ·my noun dÄ«-ˈkä-tÉ’-mÄ“ also dÉ’- – something with seemingly contradictory qualities

It was 34 ° and a wet snow was falling in the glass canyon created by the six (6) glass and steel office buildings that surround PPG Place in center city Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh PPG Place skating

In the summer, this space is dominated by corporate culture. With over 1.5 million square feet of office space and more than 70,000 square feet of retail, the plaza is typically humming with activity. Suits, ties, brief cases, taxis, and deliveries crisscross the plaza through most of the warmer months, but it’s in the winter when PPG Place shows its calmer, more playful qualities. The Rink at PPG Place is a temporary skating rink that appears each winter overtop the at grade fountains creating a most curious dichotomy in the urban fabric. This once monochromatic plaza is full of colorful snow suits, ice skates, and yellow-jacketed skating ambassadors ready and willing to play on the ice all day long.

One space, two very different and unique experiences. Pittsburgh, like much of Pennsylvania, has to face the reality that snow will fall and temperatures will lower through the winter months. They make a choice to see this inevitability as a reason to reinvent outdoor spaces and continue to add vibrancy to their downtown. You do not need to have a million square feet of office space nearby, or world famous architectural landmarks to find creative ways to add vibrancy to your community. Simply look for the seemingly contradictory opportunities in the spaces you have.