Originally the First United Presbyterian Church, this congregation merged with the Bellefield Presbyterian Church down the street, which sold its building (of which only the tower remains) and moved here, with the compensation that this church was renamed Bellefield Presbyterian. The building, designed by William Boyd and built in 1896, is festooned with a riot of carved Romanesque ornaments.
Each one of these cherubs has a different face and different ornamental carving surrounding it.
This is one of the few designs by Edward Mellon that amounted to anything. In spite of boosting by his absurdly rich and powerful Mellon uncles, architect Edward Mellon played mostly second-banana roles in the architecture business. He was local architect of record on the Gulf Building, but the designing was done by Trowbridge & Livingston. He was paid for designs for the massive Mellon-financed Pitt construction that would ultimately become the Cathedral of Learning, but Pitt’s chancellor just tossed the drawings in a filing cabinet and hired Charles Z. Klauder to do something different.
This 1930 bank, however, is all Mellon’s, and it would be hard to fault it. As an architectural message it is unambiguous: your money will be safe here. As an ornament to the streetscape it is welcome: it holds down a prominent corner and seems to cap off the block. If Edward Mellon had never accomplished anything else, he could still have been proud to point to this bank and say, “I imagined that into being.”
Originally the Schenley Apartments, but now Schenley High School has been turned into apartments as the Schenley Apartments, so using the original name would be confusing. This huge complex was built in 1922 as luxury apartments to go with the Hotel Schenley. The architect was Henry Hornbostel, with the collaboration of Rutan & Russell, the original architects of the hotel. In 1955 the University of Pittsburgh bought the Schenley Apartments (for less than they had cost to build in 1922), and since then the buildings have been Pitt dormitories. Above, we see the complex from the grounds of Soldiers and Sailors Hall; below, the steps up from Forbes Avenue.
Since we have a large number of pictures, we’ll put most of them behind a “Read more” link to avoid weighing down the main page of the site.
Pedestrians and drivers often see the front of this magnificent Romanesque church, but few ever notice the back. It is plainer but still interesting in its masses, with the half-round auditorium characteristic of many Methodist and Presbyterian churches in the late 1800s.
The front (seen below in a picture from last year) is also given a round bulge, so that the whole building seems to orbit around that polygonal central tower.
The church was built in 1896 as the First United Presbyterian Church; the architect was William Boyd, who gave the congregation the most fashionably Richardsonian interpretation of Romanesque he could manage. It was more or less in competition with the original Bellefield Presbyterian, of which only the tower now remains. But in 1967 the two congregations merged. They kept this building, renamed it Bellefield Presbyterian, and abandoned the old Bellefield Presbyterian up the street, which was later demolished for an office block.
Designed by Lou Astorino, this is our twentieth-tallest skyscraper (tied with Three Gateway Center), which is not a remarkable record. It was, however, the tallest building that went up in Pittsburgh during the long pause between the 1980s boom and the current boom that began with the construction of the Tower at PNC Plaza. The somewhat taller building to the right is One PNC Plaza, built in 1972 to a design by Welton Becket Associates.