Tag: Hunting & Davis Co.

  • McKinney Manufacturing Company Warehouse, Chateau

    View of the warehouse from the corner of Preble Avenue and Liverpool Street

    The Hunting-Davis Company was a versatile firm, but its specialty was industrial architecture. The McKinney Manufacturing Company warehouse was noted as an innovation in reinforced-concrete construction when it went up in 1914, and it still stands in very close to its original form, giving us a good look at the ultra-modern industrial architecture of the early twentieth century. We note that even such a utilitarian structure as a warehouse was not allowed to go up without some elegant Art Nouveau ornamentation:

    Ornamentation on the corner of the warehouse

    Here is the architects’ Liverpool Street elevation as it appeared in an article in the Construction Record for February 7, 1914:

    And here is the same building today:

    McKinney Manufacturing Co. warehouse, Preble Avenue side

    This is the Preble Avenue side, which is shorter by one bay but otherwise similar. Old Pa Pitt would have preferred to duplicate the architects’ drawing as closely as possible, but Liverpool Street no longer exists in that block: it has been filled in with lower buildings.

    Here is the text of the article, which will be of interest to students of architecture and construction:

    Last week the contract for building the warehouse for the McKinney Manufacturing Company, Northside, Pittsburgh, was placed with the Henry Shenk Company, Pittsburgh. The building as designed by the Hunting-Davis Company, Century building, Pittsburgh, will be approximately 105×120 feet, six stories high with basement. It will be of reinforced concrete throughout. There will be no steel beams or girders used in the construction work except those for the outside lintels and elevator framing.

    In order that the reinforced concrete work may be properly constructed, thus eliminating any possibility of poor workmanship and accidents, it is agreed that superintendent of five years experience on reinforced concrete building must remain on the work at all times. The mixture of the concrete will be one part cement, two parts sand and four parts gravel. All columns will have a one to two cement and sand mortar placed to a depth of three inches before the concrete is placed. The columns will be cast a day ahead of the beams and slabs. Care is to be exercised in removing the forms so that no board marks or imperfections on the exterior of the building are noticeable.

    The building will be one of the heaviest loaded flat slab buildings ever designed in the country. A four-way diagonal reinforcement will be used in the slab construction. The columns will have hoop-reinforced concrete. All ceilings will be flat. The floor loads per square foot will be as follows: First floor, 800 pounds; second floor, 1,200 pounds; third floor, 650 pounds; fourth floor, 450 pounds; fifth and sixth floors, 300 pounds. The basement floor and walls will be reinforced to take care of flood water pressure with flood gates on basement windows.

    The design carries with the proposed work the building of a tunnel to connect with the present plant and the construction of a bridge to connect up with the second floor. Solid steel sash will be used on all windows. A sprinkler system will be installed. All floors in the basement tunnel and pent houses will have a granolithic finish.

    For the connecting bridge the walls and roof will be constructed of self-centering material plastered with cement mortar. The walls will be two inches thick and finished smooth on both sides. The roof will be two and one-half inches thick and finished with a smooth under coat. Composition roofing will be used throughout all the work.

  • Pierce-Arrow Dealer, Shadyside

    Painter-Dunn building

    We continue our visits to car dealers of the mythic past with one that catered to the very highest class of motorist. The Painter-Dunn Company sold Pierce-Arrow cars, a luxury brand that lasted until 1938. This dealership is the architectural equivalent of the Pierce-Arrow advertisements, which concentrated on elegant design without trying to tell us how good the car was. The design conveyed the message.

    Pierce-Arrow advertisement
    Decorative details

    Father Pitt does not know the whole history of this building. The elaborate cornice at the top of the second floor suggests that the third floor was a tastefully managed later addition.

    Addendum: The Construction Record in 1915 confirms that this building was put up as two floors, and names the architects: “Architects Hunting & Davis Company, Century building, awarded to Henry Shenk Company, Century Building, the contract for constructing a two-story brick and terra cotta garage and assembly shop on Center avenue, Shadyside, for the Painter-Dunn Company. Cost $100,000.”

    From Millvale Avenue

    Note how Millvale Avenue runs right into the garage entrance.