CAFE 524

A "Third Place" for Homewood.


Through a series of community meetings in the fall of 2009, Homewood residents indicated a need for a “third place” for informal social activity and a desire to demonstrate sustainable building systems. The UDBS worked closely with the Homewood Children's Village, Operation Better Block (OBB), and Community Stewards Committed to Revitalizing the Inner City (CSCRI) to address these needs. Originally CAFE 524 was two-storys, featuring a cafe owned by OBB on the first floor and a business center run by CSCRI on the second level, but the footprint was later reduced to focus on the community oriented cafe. At each interval of the process, a committee of residents, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) members, and stakeholders ensured that community priorities were upheld.

The cafe received financial support from the URA, Richard King Mellon Foundation, and Pittsburgh Foundation. The first phase of construction included selective interior demolition and student pre-fabrication of the modular window wall in an off-site warehouse for future installation. Although CAFE 524 was not built as designed, the two year long process inspired discussion of future potential and made way for construction of Homewood Station Senior Apartments on its proposed site. The apartments will incorporate a cafe among its first floor businesses.

Project Team


Homewood Residents
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Operation Better Block
Community Stewards Committed to Revitalizing the Inner City


Homewood Children's Village
Carnegie Mellon University Urban Laboratory Studio
Elwin Green
Reverend Eugene Blackwell
National Black Master of Business Administration Association
Councilman Ricky Burgess
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (former)
Community Design Center Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Economic and Industrial Development Corporation
Pittsburgh Department of City Planning
East End Regional Advisory Committee
Community Business Enterprise
Rocky Mountain Institute 10XE Program
All Facilities Energy Group


Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Richard King Mellon Foundation
Pittsburgh Foundation



Konefal Engineering
Iams Consulting
P.J. Dick Construction
Degalu Engineering


John Folan, UDBS Director
Alise Kuwahara
Justin Rosenberry
Kaitlin Miciunas
Doug Farrell
Lingshui Wang
Liz Duray
Filip Agren
Ingrid Kong
Ellen Garrett
Josh Marshman
Julia Martini
Jarrod Coleman


Raghav Kaushik, Chen Ling