Entrance to the Frick Building

The Frick Building was designed by Daniel Burnham to convey one message, and with its austere classical dignity it succeeds perfectly. The message was “Henry Frick is more important than Andrew Carnegie.” The Frick Building dwarfed the Carnegie Building next door, which had once been the tallest in the city; by the time Frick had surrounded Carnegie’s building with taller buildings, the Carnegie Building was no longer an attractive place to be, and it was demolished to make way for the Kaufmann’s annex.

Oliver Building

Henry W. Oliver wanted to leave a mark on Pittsburgh, and he certainly did. Virgin Alley was renamed Oliver Avenue, and he planned this building to be the tallest in Pittsburgh. It was the tallest when it opened in 1910, although Oliver himself didn’t live to see it finished. As architect, he hired Daniel Burnham, the great Chicago beaux-arts master for whom Pittsburgh was practically a second home—there are more Burnham buildings here than anywhere else but Chicago.

Oliver Building

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One of sixteen buildings designed by the great Beaux-Arts master Daniel Burnham, the Oliver Building, finished in 1910, is typically elegant, and its scale is magnificent. It spans a whole city block. The back of it is a typical tripartite division that allowed large buildings like this to have more windows, more cross-ventilation, and possibly more of those desirable corner offices.

God and Mammon

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The spire of Trinity Cathedral is dwarfed by the massive Oliver Building behind it, one of Daniel Burnham’s greatest gifts to Pittsburgh.

Trinity Cathedral is half a block up Sixth Avenue from the Wood Street subway station.

Allegheny Building

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Having walled off the Carnegie Building on the east side, Henry Frick commissioned Daniel Burnham once more to build a wall on the south side. Once again, Burnham responded with an elegant design: not quite the masterpiece that the Frick Building was, but beautiful and perfectly proportioned, as you’d expect from Burnham. Here we see it from the porch of the City-County Building, with the statue of Richard Caliguiri in the foreground.