A. F. Link designed this Romanesque school in 1912, a little more than a decade before he designed the magnificent church beside it. This design already shows Link’s trademark habit of abstracting and modernizing historic forms: here he combines a hint of Romanesque with some very Jugendstil abstract patterns in the brickwork.
Fortunately the building has been sold to Yeshiva Schools, so it will not be abandoned to rot the way so many Catholic schools have been.
St. Matthew’s was a Slovak congregation; you can read the whole history of the parish up to 1955 in its golden-jubilee book at the Historic Pittsburgh site. The church closed some time ago and was converted to apartments; the convent is also secular now, but the front is beautifully maintained. It was built in 1926, and the architect was Albert F. Link. It’s a good example of Link’s style: he streamlines and modernizes a historical style—Jacobean here—and creates something that harmonizes well with the older church next door but still definitely belongs to our modern age of the 1920s.
Designed by A. F. Link, this Romanesque church was begun in 1923 and opened in 1925. The style is transitional: it uses traditional Romanesque elements, but it is already veering toward the Art Deco modernist interpretation of those elements that would become common in the 1930s through the 1950s.
The cross at the top of the (liturgical) west front sets the modernist tone for the decorations.
These abstract capitals continue the streamlined modernist theme, as do the three lunettes (Mary, Jesus, Joseph) on the west front:
Though it is a complex design, the rose window echoes the streamlining of the capitals and other details.
In contrast to the Deco streamlining of the front, the side of the church, with its crenellations and complex brickwork, could almost pass for a middle-1800s church by Charles F. Bartberger. Yet the styles fit together; there is no dissonance between the different views of the church.
For those who are interested, here is a Pittsburgh Catholic article published March 27, 1924, that identifies many of the contractors and artists who worked on the church.