Steel Stacks Campus

The Steel Stacks Campus in Bethlehem, PA is the former Bethlehem Steel Plant turned dynamic arts and cultural campus. For the residents of the local community, the campus also plays an important role by providing programs and services that benefit those members of the community who are underserved. The redevelopment focuses on the 10-acre central core that includes multiple performance venues, plazas and parks - along with the sculpturally angular Levitt Pavilion, an open-air stage graced by the spectacular backdrop of Bethlehem’s iconic blast furnaces, and the Hoover Mason Trestle, which was an elevated railway for carrying raw materials.


Avoiding frontal lighting that would have flattened the structure and created light spill, the furnaces were instead lit from within and from the side and from behind. This underscores their voluminous presence and provides a rhythm to their layout, providing a sense of the action that took place within and through them. This placement of the lighting also highlights the materiality of the facilities and their production: “at night, we should feel the burn and see the roughness of material. We don’t want the beautification of Disneyland, or for it to be melancholic”, explains Principal Hervé Descottes.

Location Bethlehem, PA, USA
Date Completed 2015
Landscape Architect Wallace Roberts & Todd
Client Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem
Type Exterior + Landscapes
size435,600 ft2 / 40,470,000 m2
Status Built

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Leader Wei Jien
Project Team Jessica Tchah Jeff Taylor Kristy Philp Oliver Huang Artemis Papadatou
Awards Rudy Bruner Award Gold Medalist , 2017
ASLA Honor Award , 2017
IES Lumen Award of Merit , 2017
AN's Best of Design Awards , 2016
IES Award of Distinction , 2016
IES Illumination Award of Merit , 2016
Lehigh Valley Awards , 2015
Global Awards for Excellence Winner , 2014
ULI Philadelphia Inaugural Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Award , 2014
Press Landscape Architecture Magazine, May 2014
Photo Credits Halkin Mason Photography, Studio Dubuisson