Working on the Roof of Heinz Chapel

Workers on the roof of Heinz Chapel

It’s easy to forget how tall Heinz Chapel is until we see people working on the roof.

Heinz Chapel with roof work

Skinny Building Under Wraps

Skinny Building shrouded

The Skinny Building and its neighbor the Roberts Building have been bought by PNC. Here they are shrouded for renovation work. The last old Pa Pitt heard, PNC was planning on displaying art in the upper windows of the Skinny Building.

Demolishing a Warehouse in the Strip

Demolition

Chunks of concrete dangle from exposed floors of a half-demolished warehouse next to the Sixteenth Street Bridge.

Demolition

No one will miss this ugly building—or at least no one will admit to missing it. But it does point out a principle that old Pa Pitt has often stated: prosperity is more destructive to old landmarks than any other force except possibly war—and even then it depends on the war. When the city is prosperous, there is a strong incentive to replace older things with newer, more profitable things. Fortunately Pittsburgh has learned a lot about appreciating its old buildings, and much of what is going on in the booming Strip District is restoration and adaptation rather than demolition. But old buildings are in much more danger when the city is prosperous than when the local economy is stagnant.

Two floors of building under demolition

Restoring the Observatory

Allegheny Observatory

The Allegheny Observatory, begun in 1900, is getting some restoration work. The architect was Thorsten E. Billquist, the sort of name one wishes one had invented.

Entrance to the Allegheny Observatory

Construction on the Rachel Carson Bridge

The Ninth Street or Rachel Carson Bridge is closed for construction for a while. Here we see it in early-morning light.