Tag: Classical Architecture

  • Masonic Temple, Oakland

    Masonic Temple

    Another magnificent clubhouse by Benno Janssen; it is now Alumni Hall of the University of Pittsburgh.

    Masonic Temple
  • Pittsburgh Athletic Association

    One of Benno Janssen’s masterpieces; here we see it from the Cathedral of Learning grounds.

  • Carnegie Institute

    Music Hall entrance

    The titanic Carnegie Institute building was designed by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow, Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architects. Above: the Music Hall entrance. Below: the main building seen from the west, across Forbes Avenue.

    Carnegie Institute
  • Henry Chalfant House, Allegheny West

    Chalfant Hall

    Now Chalfant Hall of the Community College of Allegheny County, and currently getting a thorough renovation. The house was built in about 1900; no one seems to know who the architect was. Henry Chalfant was a successful lawyer whose father was a successful lawyer as well.

    Front
    Detail
  • Board of Public Education Building, Oakland

    Forbes Avenue front

    One of the many Italian Renaissance palaces in the monumental district of Oakland, this one—unlike many of the others—still serves its original purpose. It was designed by Ingham & Boyd and opened in 1938. Because of the street layout, the building is a large trapezoid with a courtyard garden. It is worth the time to pause and examine the details.

    From the corner of Forbes and Bellefield
    Bellefield Avenue side
    Entrance
    False balcony
    Cartouche
    Indian head
    Window
    Oval window
    Another Indian head
    From Bellefield and Filmore
  • St. Clair Savings & Trust Co., Knoxville

    St. Clair Savings & Trust Co.

    An Art Deco interpretation of traditional Doric bank architecture, with the added interest of an unusual shape: the lot forces the structure into a triangle. This substantial building from 1931 was abandoned for a while; then it was briefly the Iglesia de Cristo León de Judá, before that congregation took over an old church a few blocks away; then it was abandoned again. Now it is a store with the delightfully appropriate name “Candy Safe Market.” The exterior is a feast of artistic details.

    Inscription

    The name comes from St. Clair Township, which originally included much of Allegheny County south of the Monongahela. Today the building is in the Knoxville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, right on the border with Mount Oliver borough.

    Frieze
    Griffins

    This pair of griffins over the entrance ought to be guarding a clock, and perhaps they were at some point; but the bronze decoration where the clock should be is fairly old, if it is not original. The banner with the name of the store is hanging over this sculpture, which is why we have to look at it from this angle: old Pa Pitt thought it would be discourteous to take down the banner just to get a better picture.

    Griffin
    Detail
    Ram’s head
    Medallion
    Rear

    One of the points of the triangle.

    Oblique view
  • Boggs Avenue School, Mount Washington

    A modest Renaissance palace designed by Sydney F. Heckert and built in 1925. It is now apartments.

    When the building was converted from school to residence, someone thought this treatment of the front entrances was a good idea. Someone was mistaken.

  • Wood Street Building (300 Sixth Avenue Building)

    Wood Street Building

    A Daniel Burnham design built for the McCreery & Company department store, this building opened in 1904. It originally had a classical base with a pair of arched entrances on Wood Street, but beginning in 1939 it had various alterations, so that nothing remains of the original Burnham design below the fourth floor. This was one of Burnham’s more minimalistic designs; in it we see how thin the wall can be between classicism and modernism.

    Below, an abstract composition with elements of this building reflected in Two PNC Plaza across the street.

    Reflections
  • Mausoleum & Son

    No one knows exactly what the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus looked like when it was intact. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but today all that is left is a bit of rubble. The rough outlines are generally known, however, and the speculative reconstructions of it have been productive of more monumental architecture in Pittsburgh than perhaps any other classical building. At least half a dozen buildings in Pittsburgh were inspired by it: Soldiers & Sailors Hall, the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie, Presbyterian Hospital, Allegheny General Hospital, the Gulf Building, and the Wilkins mausoleum in the Homewood Cemetery. Above is James Fergusson’s version of how it must have looked, and Fergusson’s was one of the most influential reconstructions. See if you can spot the resemblance with the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial by Henry Hornbostel:

  • Top of the Benedum-Trees Building

    Top of the Benedum-Trees Building

    The ornate cap of the Benedum-Trees Building, with the PPG Place Christmas tree poking its head into the picture. Enlarge the images to appreciate the wealth of carved detail.

    Benedum-Trees Building