Terra-Cotta Decorations on the Buhl Building

Terra cotta

The Buhl Building, an earlier work of Benno Janssen, is covered with Wedgwood-style terra-cotta decorations. Below, the Market Street end of the building.

Buhl Building
Terra cotta

Mayor Guthrie

Relief of Mayor Guthrie

George W. Guthrie was mayor of Pittsburgh when the Keenan Building was put up in 1907, and here is his face among the terra-cotta decorations on the building, where he keeps company with other prominent men of Pittsburgh. Pittsburghers remember Guthrie as the mayor who finally engineered the successful conquest of Allegheny, so North Siders sometimes think of him the way Ukrainians think of Vladimir Putin. Perhaps his most important accomplishment, though, was clean city water that, for the first time, brought typhoid under control in Pittsburgh, where it had been a scourge for the first century and a half of the city’s existence.

King Edward Apartments, Oakland

King Edward Apartments

This is a huge composite picture, so don’t click on it unless you have the megabytes to spare. This elegant apartment building on Craig Street had a typically Pittsburgh problem to solve. The lot is irregularly shaped and (of course) not level. The architect’s answer was a façade that is varied enough to mask the fact that it does not quite line up with the street. At first glance, the front seems symmetrical; the second and third glances will reveal the curious staggering of the wall.

Terra-Cotta Ornaments on the Maul Building

Terra-cotta ornament, Maul Building

The splendid terra-cotta facing of the Maul Building is covered with ornaments that may have been standard catalogue items, but nevertheless show considerable artistic talent.

Rodef Shalom Temple

Rodef Shalom Temple

One of Henry Hornbostel’s most impressive works, Rodef Shalom, built in 1906, is notable for its colored terra-cotta decorations, which—according to the interpretive sign on the temple grounds—were among the earliest uses of polychrome terra cotta in the United States.

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