Tag: Liberty Avenue

  • Renshaw Building, Kirkpatrick Building, Shannon Building

    Renshaw Building, Kirkpatrick Building, Shannon Building
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.

    On Liberty Avenue downtown.

  • Liberty Avenue

  • Liberty Avenue

  • 907 Liberty Avenue

    907 Liberty Avenue

    Penn and Liberty Avenues are living museums of Victorian downtown architecture: in very few other places can we get such a vivid impression of what a big city looked like in Victorian times before the age of skyscrapers began. From old maps, we can see that this splendid building appears to have been put up in the 1880s for one W. T. Shannon, who was still the owner in 1923. The upper floors are now loft apartments.

  • Cast-Iron Front on Liberty Avenue

    951 Liberty Avenue

    To judge by old maps, this splendid cast-iron-fronted building was put up in the 1880s for William Carr, and it remained in the Carr family for decades after that. These days the details are picked out in shades of pale blue.

  • August Wilson African American Cultural Center

    August Wilson Cultural Center

    Old Pa Pitt nursed a secret grudge against this building for years, for the very petty reason that it replaced the old Aldine Theatre, which he had hoped to see restored as part of the revival of the theater district downtown. But on its own merits, the August Wilson African American Cultural Center is a striking building that makes the most of its triangular site, and certainly no Pittsburgher better deserves the naming rights to the first theater to meet our eyes on Liberty Avenue. San Francisco’s Allison Grace Williams was the lead architect, and she made the building into a kind of announcement for the Cultural District: here, it tells us, you are entering a place where great things are happening.

  • Federated Tower

    Federated Tower

    For a very brief period in the 1980s, the style known as “Postmodernism,” which perhaps we might better call the Art Deco Revival, was the ruling trend in skyscraper design. Fortunately Pittsburgh grew a bountiful crop of skyscrapers in the Postmodern decade, and here is one of the better ones. In it we see the hallmarks of postmodernism: a return to some of the streamlined classicism of the Art Deco period, along with a sensitive (and expensive) variation of materials that gives the building more texture than the standard modernist glass wall. This skyscraper is part of Liberty Center, which was begun in 1982 and finished in 1986; the architects were Burt Hill Kosar Rittelman.

    Federated Tower
  • Store Building at Tenth and Liberty

    Corner of Tenth and Liberty

    Maximilian Nirdlinger, who is on old Pa Pitt’s short list of architects whose names are most fun to say, designed this little store building in 1914, and we would guess it was completed by 1915. It was a very small and inexpensive project for downtown, but Nirdlinger made sure it was a tasteful one; and it has been updated without losing its essential character, which is classical by way of German-art-magazine modern.

    Building by M. Nirdlinger
    Liberty Avenue façade
  • Renovating the Triangle Building

    Triangle Building

    The Triangle Building, originally called the McCance Block, is currently under renovation for luxury apartments. It fills what may be one of the smallest downtown city blocks in the country, so that every side of a relatively small building faces the street.

  • The Old Horne’s

    The original Horne’s

    Not the one with the Christmas tree, but the one before that. Horne’s was Pittsburgh’s first department store, and in 1880 the already-well-established Joseph Horne Company built this grand mercantile palace. It was Horne’s for only about seventeen years: in 1897, the department store moved to its much larger location at Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street, where it would stay for almost a century. After that, the Pittsburgh Post moved into this building, and later the Sun as well, when they were under the same ownership.

    1880 date stone

    The Wikipedia article on the Joseph Horne Company is a mess, and old Pa Pitt ought to work on rewriting it, except that it would require extensive research. Among other things, it tells us (without citing a source) that this building was built in 1881 (which may be when it opened) and was designed by Charles Tattersall Ingham, who would have been four years old when he designed it. Decent work for a four-year-old. However…

    1902 date stone

    The lower floors got a complete makeover in 1920, when the building was a newspaper headquarters, and that part of the building is in the trademark Ingham & Boyd style: rigorously symmetrical, with meticulously correct classical detailing. Charles Tattersall Ingham would have been 44 years old then, right in the middle of a prosperous career. Old Pa Pitt will therefore tentatively attribute that 1920 remodeling to Ingham & Boyd.

    Left entrance

    Do you have plans for a luxury-apartment project downtown? Here is your opportunity. Everyone else is doing it.

    Joseph Horne Company 1880 building