It’s easy to forget how tall Heinz Chapel is until we see people working on the roof.
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.
Chunks of concrete dangle from exposed floors of a half-demolished warehouse next to the Sixteenth Street Bridge.
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.
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.