St. Paul’s Cathedral reflected in the Software Engineering Institute across the street.
Above, the distinctive grotesque eruption at the pinnacle of the pyramid roof. Below, the alternating eagles and torches of the cornice.
Two great cultural institutions that vacated their landmark buildings for different reasons. The Twentieth Century Club, Pittsburgh’s premier women’s club, fell on hard times like most clubs in our antisocial twenty-first century. The Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, on the other hand, prospered and moved its collection to the Heinz History Center in the Strip. Old Pa Pitt is delighted to see that the old Historical Society building will soon be a Latin American Cultural Center, so that once again it will be a cultural landmark in Oakland.
The Twentieth Century Club was designed by the prolific Benno Janssen.
The Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania was by the firm of Ingham and Boyd.
The story told by architectural historian Franklin Toker is that the architect Henry Hornbostel wanted this building to face Fifth Avenue, with a long vista back from the street, but the clients insisted that it had to face Bigelow Boulevard. Reluctantly Hornbostel acquiesced—and then built it his way anyway. What are you going to do? Tear it down and do it over?
This is one of a number of buildings in Pittsburgh inspired by the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and this is the one that most obviously follows its model.