Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Oliver Building

Oliver Building

The Oliver Building, designed by Daniel Burnham, was the tallest building in Pittsburgh when it was put up in 1910, passing Alden & Harlow’s Farmer’s Bank Building (destroyed in 1997, or arguably thirty years earlier when it was given a fake-modern skin). Only two years later, though, it was passed by Daniel Burnham’s own First National Bank Building (destroyed in 1968 to make way for a modernist skyscraper barely any taller).

The front of the Oliver Building still produces an impression of absolute massiveness, spanning an entire block with a 348-foot-tall wall. The rear, on the other hand, is where the light wells are, which divide the building into three narrower towers, changing the impression to one of loftiness rather than massiveness.

Oliver Building from Oliver Avenue

Your eyes are not being fooled by a trick of perspective: the section on the right really does extend a little further toward us than the other two.

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