Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Mt. Lebanon Professional Building

Inscription: Mt. Lebanon Professional Building

First of all, old Pa Pitt hopes these aluminum letters are insured at replacement value, because it would be a crime against design to lose their cool perfection.

Arthur Tennyson, a Mt. Lebanon native, was an architect who flourished in postwar Pittsburgh, when “modern” was the buzzword and simplicity was in demand. This building was designed in 1956 for medical offices. It opened in 1958, and although its population has diversified a little and a few minor alterations have been made, it remains, sixty-six years later, mostly unaltered and mostly in use for its original purpose.

Mt. Lebanon Professional Building, front elevation

From his preliminary sketch, we can see that the building grew a bit from Mr. Tennyson’s original conception. Because of the sloping lot, it would be hard to say exactly how much it grew; it would be safest to say that roughly a floor was added.

Pittsburgh Press, September 23, 1956.

The most eye-catching feature is the facing of mint-green glazed brick laid in a stack bond (that is, gridwise) rather than the usual running bond. The stack bond adds to the impression of horizontality and stability on a site where the lot plummets diagonally two floors.

Mt. Lebanon Professional Building, perspective view from the east
Lower end of the building

The building was a bit unusual in that the doctors who originally had their offices here were shareholders in the building as well as tenants. “The idea of constructing the building,” said the Press article, “originated with the doctors themselves, who are share owners in Mt. Lebanon Professional Building, Inc., the backer of the project.”


Mt. Lebanon Professional Building from Florida Avenue
Nikon COOLPIX P100.

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One response to “Mt. Lebanon Professional Building”

  1. The letters are beautiful but the extra spacing in B UIL DING rather spoils it for me.

    I wonder if they were re-installed carelessly at some time?

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