Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Mattern Avenue, Dormont

2943 Mattern Avenue

Mattern Avenue is a short street that illustrates what Father Pitt calls the Dormont Model of Sustainable Development. In population density, Dormont is number 119 out of tens of thousands of municipalities in the United States, and it is the most densely populated municipality in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area—denser than Pittsburgh.1 Yet the streets do not feel crowded. Mattern Avenue has a mixture of large houses designed by prestigious architects, smaller single-family houses, duplexes, and an apartment building, so that a fairly large number of people are housed in a small area, but without piling them up into concrete warehouses. Instead, we get a pleasantly varied streetscape and a quiet residential street that feels roomy.

The house above and below is by far the most original composition on the street. It seems as though the architect was told, “I want a bungalow, but with three floors.” So that was what the client got: a mad bungalow with some sort of growth disorder.

Third-floor oriel
2930 Mattern Avenue

Here is a much more modest house of a sort we find all over Pittsburgh. Two things about it are unusual: the corner lot gives it room for a wraparound porch, and this one so far has kept its wood shingles, which are usually replaced with aluminum or vinyl siding.

2956–2958 Mattern Avenue

A typical Pittsburgh up-and-down duplex.

Apartment building

This small apartment building does not overwhelm the houses on the street, but its depth gives it a lot of space inside.

Perspective view of the apartment building
Side-by-side duplex

Here is what might strike us at first glance as a large house, but it is a side-by-side duplex or double house.

Perspective view
2941 Mattern Avenue

A generously sized center-hall house.

2961 Mattern Avenue

An unusually well-preserved brick-and-shingle house.


A small side-by-side duplex. Note how it imitates the style of the single-family houses on the street.

2968 Mattern Avenue

Finally, a sort of Gothicized Dutch colonial.

  1. See the Wikipedia List of United States cities by population density. ↩︎

See a random picture
and become a better person

You could buy this book
if you wanted a book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *