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Growing green spaces for healthy communities

  • About Us

    Rooted in the notion that human and environmental health are interconnected, Studio Phipps: Sustainable Design Group is a landscape design group that aims to inspire commercial clients to look at nature differently by considering ways to integrate the natural world into buildings and find feasible solutions to sustainability challenges. Studio Phipps staff are also certified in healthcare garden design, bringing multidisciplinary training and experience to the creation of healing and restorative spaces for hospitals and other institutions.

    The strategies and technology that Studio Phipps uses to creatively design landscapes for commercial clients are the same ones that are used every day at Phipps. Studio Phipps staff draws from the latest research in green infrastructure and biophilia, as well as knowledge gained from more than a decade of designing, creating and maintaining innovative sustainable landscapes and green buildings.

    Since 2010, Studio Phipps has completed projects for clients including UPMC East, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh, Sewickley Heights Golf Club, Thoughtful Balance, AirMall/Pittsburgh International Airport, Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Loyalhanna Watershed Association, Environmental Charter School, Lowries Run Trailhead, Walnut Capital/Bakery Square, Jefferson Regional Hospital, Spectrum Charter School, L.R. Kimball/Sheetz Corporate Campus, and Planetree/Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New Jersey.

    For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Studio Phipps Manager Mark D'Amico at 412/622/6915, ext. 6215 or

  • How We Work

    Studio Phipps provides a wide range of sustainable design consultation and education services with an emphasis on healthcare facilities, businesses, community groups and design firms in the Pittsburgh region. Led by a highly qualified team of landscape architecture and green building experts, the group is also collaborative in our approach, working closely with clients to meet goals with additional input from key Phipps staff, including:

    • Horticulturists
    • Landscape architects
    • Facility operators
    • Construction managers
    • And educators

    Whether you desire to create a health-promoting garden space for your staff to enjoy, attain a green certification for an existing structure, restore native plant communities, or manage stormwater on your site, we will maximize all available resources to find the perfect solutions for you.

  • Our Services

    Studio Phipps offers the following services to clients seeking to advance sustainability through their projects, helping to build healthier, more vibrant communities for the long-term benefit of both people and the planet:

    • Sustainable site design and consultation with an emphasis on rain gardens, green roofs, alternative lawns, organic produce gardens and green building certification
    • Restoration ecology, invasive species management and habitat restoration
    • Therapeutic gardens for healthcare institutions
    • Collaborative consultation for architectural and design professionals on integrated project teams
    • Research and monitoring of site-specific sustainable practices
    • Professional education and training on sustainability and design

  • Team Leaders

    Richard V. Piacentini, Phipps’ executive director, is responsible for the first LEED® visitor center in a public garden, the energy-efficient Tropical Forest Conservatory, the first LEED greenhouse, and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, designed to meet the Living Building Challenge. He is the recipient of a Living Building Challenge Hero Award, and USGBC, ASID and Green Building Alliance Leadership Awards.

    Mark D’Amico, Studio Phipps' manager, joined the team after working as a landscape architect for Astorino CannonDesign, creating and executing land development projects for various companies such as Department of Energy NETL and Children’s Hospital, Pittsburgh. Before that, he worked as a landscape architect for Joseph L. Pellis & Associates Architects, where he singlehandedly planned, designed and managed land development projects for companies ranging from healthcare to recreation to corporate-commercial. D’Amico served in the Navy and was in the Navy Reserves, working as an Engineering Aid in Seabrees, overseeing construction drawings and surveying construction sites. He has a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture. In 2017, Mark received Healthcare Garden Design Certification from the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

    Meghan Scanlon, Phipps' wellness and sustainability specialist, acts as a change agent for the Conservatory, facilitating new ways to connect human and environmental health within Phipps and other organizations. Her expertise in developing and implementing targeted sustainable wellness practice standards enhances Phipps’ mission. In Studio Phipps, she inspires others by sharing the knowledge Phipps has gathered about sustainability and health through our design projects and operations. Meghan holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and public policy, and she has over 10 years of environmental impact documentation, land conservation and green infrastructure design experience.

  • Our Clients

    Studio Phipps has the honor of working with numerous clients who are raising the bar for sustainability in the region. Among them are:

    Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
    Since 2009, Phipps has worked with Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland to design and manage organic edible gardens in three interior courtyard gardens, bringing forth a bounty of produce for use in the café. Later, in 2012, Phipps redesigned plantings integrated within the edible gardens, incorporating native plants to create sustainable garden spaces that not only provide food and restore biodiversity, but also serve as places of respite.

    UPMC East
    In 2012, Phipps collaborated with UPMC East in Monroeville to develop sustainable landscape maintenance specifications for its grounds. This plan incorporated integrated pest management strategies to encourage populations of beneficial insects; strengthen the natural defenses of plants; and replace toxins with organic pesticides, fertilizers and soil amendments, creating health-promoting spaces for patients, visitors and staff.

    Jefferson Regional Medical Center
    Phipps has partnered with Jefferson Regional Medical Center on a sustainable re-design of its grounds to restore ecosystems and enhance the visitor experience. New landscape plantings, rainwater harvesting capabilities, rain gardens and native plants have all been incorporated to maximize biodiversity and aesthetics. Central to the project are also four barren interior courtyards that have been redesigned as therapeutic and rehabilitative gardens.

  • Photos © Annie O'Neill; Denmarsh Photography, Inc.; Paul g. Wiegman