Tag: Skyscrapers

  • Highland Building in Evening Sun

    The Highland Building looms behind the tiny shops of Ellsworth Avenue.

  • Three Gateway Center from Forbes Avenue

  • Top of the Gulf Tower

    Top of the Gulf Tower

    The Gulf Tower is one of those buildings of the style old Pa Pitt calls “Mausoleum-on-a-stick,” where a skyscraper ends in a top modeled after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Trowbridge and Livingston, who designed the Gulf Tower (with Edward Mellon as local architect of record), were the originators of the style, as far as Father Pitt can determine: the Gulf Tower is a Moderne reimagining of their original Mausoleum-on-a-Stick, the Bankers Trust Company Building on Wall Street, New York.

  • Fifth Avenue

  • Cathedral of Learning in Postcard Colors

    A two-color rendition of the Cathedral of Learning.

  • Peoples Building, McKeesport

    Built by the Peoples Union Bank & Trust Company in 1906–1907, this is a perfect miniature Beaux-Arts skyscraper, with base, shaft, cap, and even the bosses’ floor (the third floor) outlined to mark its social importance. The building was abandoned for some time, but its latest buyer seems at least to have stabilized it. We’ll see pictures in natural color later, but for now, old Pa Pitt decided to render it in black and white with a red filter (simulated in the GIMP, which saves ever so much money on optical equipment), giving us a view that almost makes McKeesport look like a thriving and important metropolis again.

    The history of this building is obscure, like many McKeesport things. Father Pitt was not able to find the architect, though it must have been some well-known figure; and although he has not read of any expansion, it seems clear that the original building had four bays along Fifth Avenue, with the two bays to the right added later. Subtract those two bays, and the Fifth Avenue face would be perfectly symmetrical, with the roof ornament right in the center.

    Most of the people who mention the Peoples Bank on the Internet add the obvious apostrophe to the name, but it appears that the company itself, in line with many similarly named companies, always left out the apostrophe, as we see in this 1894 picture of its earlier building:

    The picture comes from The First One Hundred Years of McKeesport, where it is captioned “The People’s Bank,” with the apostrophe, because sensible people can’t help themselves and feel compelled to correct the name.

  • Setting Sun

  • Cathedral of Learning from Lytton Avenue

  • Litchfield Towers on a Rainy Day

    Litchfield Towers

    Ajax, Bab-O, and Comet looking a bit wet.

  • Three PNC Plaza

    Designed by Lou Astorino, this is our twentieth-tallest skyscraper (tied with Three Gateway Center), which is not a remarkable record. It was, however, the tallest building that went up in Pittsburgh during the long pause between the 1980s boom and the current boom that began with the construction of the Tower at PNC Plaza. The somewhat taller building to the right is One PNC Plaza, built in 1972 to a design by Welton Becket Associates.