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Photo Credit: Allegheny County Airport Authority - Beth Hollerich

Vote for Presley’s Place in the 2019 AIA Pittsburgh Design Awards Competition

September 3, 2019

Vote here for HDG’s design of Presley’s Place, Allegheny County Airport Authority’s new sensory-friendly space located at Pittsburgh International Airport, in AIA Pittsburgh’s Annual Design Awards Competition. Help get this first-of-its-kind project some recognition, and encourage more projects that promote inclusivity and accessibility, by choosing it for the AIA People’s Choice Award in the “Architecture – Small” category now through September 30th.

AIA Pittsburgh’s Design Awards is a juried design competition open to AIA members and firms whose principals are members of AIA Pittsburgh, as well as AIA members from across the country whose projects were located in the 11 county area.  The mission of the awards is to recognize and honor architects and designers, and promote excellence, innovation, and achievement in the craft of architecture.  Recent architecture projects can be entered for a variety of award categories, including the People’s Choice Award, which is chosen by popular vote.

The Architecture – Small category is for built projects up to 5,000 square feet, and the project completion date cannot be more than five years old.


The Project Team:

Client: Allegheny County Airport Authority

Architecture Firm: Hayes Design Group Architects

Contractor: Allegheny County Airport Authority

Engineers: A&F Engineering

Photographer: Matthew O’Haren Photography & Allegheny County Airport Authority (Beth Hollerich)

Consultants: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, XYZ Custom, Inc., American Airlines, Magee Plastics, TFH – Special Needs Toys, Autism Connection of Pennsylvania

About This Unique Project and Why it Should Win! 

Air travel can be overwhelming and overstimulating, and the Airport Authority wanted to support passengers who may be in need of calming or destressing at any point in their travel experience. Presenting ‘Presley’s Place’: a quiet, sensory friendly space that provides an environment and equipment to help travelers with neurodevelopmental challenges, along with their travel companions, to re-group and transition peacefully to the next stage of their journey.

This first-of-its kind airport terminal sensory space includes a variety of tactile, touchable surfaces; cloud panels to soften the adjustable lighting throughout; soundproofing in the doors, walls, and ceilings; use of sustainable, odor-free materials; incorporation of smaller rooms for silence or privacy, calming sounds and visual stimulation, numerous custom-built features such as benches with bubble tubes and fiberoptic-lit “tunnels”, all with soft or curved surfaces, and a sensory-friendly bathroom with both a height-adjustable sink and adult changing table. Also included is an airplane exhibit that allows passengers to get a sense of what it feels like to sit in a plane. Decommissioned and refurbished parts of a Boeing aircraft were used in the construction of the space.

Vote for Presley’s Place Now Through Sept. 30th:

Vote for Presley's Place

To view the entire 2019 AIA Pittsburgh Design Awards online exhibit, visit:

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