Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Shirley and Neighbor, Mount Lebanon

Shirley and Her Neighbor

Here we have two apartment buildings on more or less the same plan, but differing in their details.

Shirley inscription
Shirley apartments

The Shirley has two immediately striking features. First, the broad round arch at the entrance:

Entrance to the Shirley

Second, the two-storey window (interrupted by inscription) in the stairwell, which also terminates with an arch.

Windows of the stairwell

Its neighbor uses contrasts in color to create a striking appearance.

680 Florida Avenue
680 Florida Avenue

The entrance is more classical, and instead of one tall window, the stairwell has two arched windows filled with colorful art glass.

Window with art glass

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2 responses to “Shirley and Neighbor, Mount Lebanon”

  1. Would glass like that be made up of leftovers from higher-end stained glass projects? Or were they intentionally making large sheets of pleasant, but abstractly-colored glass for installations such as this?

    • Because stained glass in geometric patterns like this is so common in early-twentieth-century buildings around Pittsburgh, it seems unlikely that the pieces would be remnants. There simply would not be enough high-end projects for them to remain from. An article on “Opalescent glass” from a Buffalo site explains that the irregular patterns are part of the appeal, quoting a book on working in stained glass: “Much of it has quite dramatic mixtures of colors spread throughout the sheet in whorls and darting lines, which are given movement and life when light illuminates it from behind.”

      This is the same sort of glass seen in lampshades by Tiffany and his many imitators.

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