Emerald Apartments, Beechview

Emerald Apartments

Old Pa Pitt’s obsession with small apartment buildings continues. This one is on Broadway in Beechview. It seems to have been originally meant as an imitation of a Georgian mansion of the sort found in Annapolis or Williamsburg. It looks as though smaller windows have been installed, and the semicircle of bricks at the top of the central stairs might have been a “Palladian” window. In spite of alterations and repairs, though, it remains a pleasing and distinctive building.

Georgian Meets Spanish Mission

Apartment building on Academy Avenue

You have probably never heard anyone say this before, but Father Pitt is fascinated by small apartment buildings. Larger apartment blocks are often designed by famous architects, and they may be masterpieces of their kind. But small apartment buildings sometimes preserve the adventurous whimsies of a builder who was not technically an architect but could draw a blueprint all by himself.

Here is a good example. The third floor of this little apartment building in Mount Lebanon is typical of the Spanish Mission style that was very popular in the near South Hills in the first half of the twentieth century. But below that the details are Georgian. It would be hard to imagine a stranger clash than those two styles—and yet they work well together. Pedestrians walking by never say, “Now there is an outrageously mixed metaphor of a building.” A big-deal architect would probably never do it, but it works.