Tag: Romanesque Architecture

  • Times Building

    Times Building

    In his earlier career, Frederick Osterling carved out a niche for himself providing Richardsonian Romanesque buildings for people who couldn’t get Richardson (because Richardson was dead). The Allegheny County Courthouse created a mania for the style in Pittsburgh, and Osterling seems to have had all the work he could handle. In this building from 1892, we see the hallmarks of Osterling’s own variation on the style. He was more florid than Richardson, but he was always aware of the overall composition, never allowing the numerous individual details to break up the carefully orchestrated rhythm of the façade.

    Below, we see the Times Building in context, with One Oxford Centre looming in the middle distance.

    Times Building and One Oxford Centre
  • Penn Avenue Gatehouse, Allegheny Cemetery

    Father Pitt has always had mixed feelings about HDR (“high-dynamic-range”) images. They are made from multiple exposures—this one, for example, is put together from three photographs—in an attempt to capture the detail in both the highlights and the shadows. On the one hand, they always strike him as artificial-looking; on the other, HDR imaging was the only effective way to capture both the stonework and the lowering clouds in this picture. If you look closely, you will notice an artifact of the process: it was a windy day, so the stones are sharp but the trees are blurred.

    This is the Penn Avenue gatehouse of Allegheny Cemetery, seen from inside the cemetery. Old Pa Pitt returned two days later to try another HDR image, and this time—with some tweaking of software settings—he managed a more natural-looking result:

    If he were at all concerned with his reputation as an artist, he would have led with this picture. But he thought you might enjoy seeing a first attempt and the refinement that followed, in that order.

    If you are looking for some atmospheric fun for Halloween, Father Pitt’s Pittsburgh Cemeteries is full of interesting pictures and information.

  • Strangely Altered Carson Street Victorian

    This building has had some adventures. Originally a typical Pittsburgh Romanesque commercial building, it had a radical renovation of the ground floor at some point in the Art Deco era (early enough that the entrances are still recessed from the sidewalk). Possibly at the same time, but probably later, the second and third floors were very inexpertly done over in an aggressively modernist style: the ornaments removed, the original tall windows replaced with much smaller windows, and the remaining space bricked up. Only the top remains more or less unaltered, though its ironwork date could use a bit of restoration, and the ironwork initials have left only their shadows.

  • Carnegie United Methodist Church

    Carnegie is full of impressive churches in a wide variety of styles. This one is in a heavy Romanesque style, and the bell tower (now festooned with loudspeakers) is appropriately impressive and weighty.

  • Attawheed Islamic Center, Carnegie

    This old Romanesque church is beautifully kept up as the Attawheed Islamic Center, occupying one of the most prominent corners in the borough of Carnegie. Though the architecture is Romanesque, the tower and steeple seem uncharacteristically light for the style; old Pa Pitt always comes away with the impression that this is a Gothic building, and only seeing the rounded arches in the photograph corrects his faulty memory.

  • B. M. Kramer & Co. Building

    Note that this picture is more than 13 megabytes if you enlarge it.

    Old Pa Pitt can only say this is not bad for a first try. He has always admired this little masterpiece of industrial architecture (which surprisingly still houses a pipe, valve, and fittings company), and set himself the task of getting a picture of the Sidney Street face, which covers the entire block between 20th Street and 21st Street on the South Side. The evening sun was not kind to him, so he may try again on a cloudy day; but this is still the only picture of the whole Sidney Street face on the entire Internet, so Father Pitt gives himself credit for that much. Below, a more conventional (and much easier) view from the corner of 20th and Sidney Streets, with the usual utility cables.

  • A Romanesque Church for Sale

    This charming little church was most recently used as a law office; but the lawyers are moving out, and here is your chance to have an architecturally unique studio, office, or even residence on the South Side. It is about the same height and depth as the rowhouses next door, but comes with its own corner parking lot.

  • Korean Central Church of Pittsburgh, Shadyside

    This building began its life as the First Methodist Church; it later passed into the hands of the Seventh Day Adventists, and now belongs to a nondenominational Korean congregation. It is a work of Frederick Osterling in his typically florid Romanesque style. Obviously the spire has had a bit of bad luck, but the rest of the exterior is in pretty good shape.

    This modest but tasteful house seems to be the parsonage for the church, and Father Pitt can easily imagine that it was designed by Osterling as well. He would be happy to have his speculation corrected or confirmed.

  • Duquesne Brewery in Evening Light

    Duquesne Brewery

    The Duquesne Brewery mushroomed into a titanic operation after the Second World War, and then rapidly collapsed in the 1960s and was gone by the 1970s. At its peak it took up three blocks on the South Side, and of course it was famous for the largest clock in the world. This 1899 building, the center of the empire, was abandoned for some time, then taken over by artist squatters, and finally, as the Brew House, became lofts and studios. It is an architectural curiosity, added to over the course of the brewery’s history with some regard for consistent style but no regard at all for symmetry.


  • Tower of Bellefield Presbyterian Church

    Tower of Bellefield Presbyterian Church and Bellefield Towers

    The church was pulled down to make way for an office block, but the tower was left to preside over its old corner.