A collaboration between the rainfall and the built environment, Rain Ravine fulfills one of the petals of the Living Building Challenge.

Frick Environmental Center, Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Local sandstone, rain

279 feet long by 35 feet wide, variable, 18 feet elevation change

In collaboration with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Architects and La Quatra Bonci, Landscape Architects.


Ecological, educational, and evocative, this design unites the building with the weather--- vivifying the passage of rainwater from the sky to the ground. This installation magnifies the local geology of the site: the layered, curving edges of stones of the Rain Ravine are translations of the intricate shale patterns found in the streambed in the park below the building.

Like an intermittent stream that flows only during rainstorms, this work alludes to the imminent rain even while dry.

Rain Ravine assists the Frick Environmental Center in their goal of meeting the requirements for the Living Building Challenge. This work satisfies two components of the Living Building demands: zero-net waterflow and beauty.

Stone basins and runnels serve to collect all the water that falls onto the building’s roof and adjacent surfaces. The meandering path for the water visually demonstrates how much rain can be collected from just a single rooftop. Visitors to the building are invited to play in the water and reflect on the cycle of water. The subtle natural patterns of shale geology of the park become more apparent a after seeing the layered path of the Rain Ravine.

Visitors to the building are invited to walk and play in the water and reflect on the cycle of water.

The natural patterns of the geology of Frick Park come into focus more easily after examining the artwork. 

During construction, pink surveyor’s tape and colored chalk were used to mark where to cut the stone.

Every stone was cut by hand and set into the ravine.

This design sketch suggests some of the different ways in which visitors can interact with the art.