Tag: Wood Street

  • Wood Street Building (300 Sixth Avenue Building)

    Wood Street Building

    A Daniel Burnham design built for the McCreery & Company department store, this building opened in 1904. It originally had a classical base with a pair of arched entrances on Wood Street, but beginning in 1939 it had various alterations, so that nothing remains of the original Burnham design below the fourth floor. This was one of Burnham’s more minimalistic designs; in it we see how thin the wall can be between classicism and modernism.

    Below, an abstract composition with elements of this building reflected in Two PNC Plaza across the street.

    Reflections
  • Granite Building

    The German National Bank Building, which later took on the name “Granite Building,” was designed by Charles Bickel. It opened in 1890 as one of the wave of Romanesque buildings that followed H. H. Richardson’s County Courthouse. Mr. Bickel pulled out all the stops and used every texture of which stone is capable. To modern eyes it may almost look random, but after one’s eye has been trained to the Victorian Romanesque, the care with which the elements are balanced becomes apparent.

  • 608 Wood Street

    Commercial building on Wood Street

    The exceptionally ornate front of this building is marred only by the modernist excrescence on the ground floor, which until recently was a McDonald’s restaurant. Something more tasteful could be done with that storefront fairly easily. The rhythm of the upper floors is just about perfect, and the carved and incised details are worth stopping to appreciate. (The upper floors are a bit blurry in this picture, which is attributable to low light on a drab day.)

  • Wood Street Subway Station

  • Skinny Building Under Wraps

    Skinny Building shrouded

    The Skinny Building and its neighbor the Roberts Building have been bought by PNC. Here they are shrouded for renovation work. The last old Pa Pitt heard, PNC was planning on displaying art in the upper windows of the Skinny Building.

  • Union National Bank Building

    Union National Bank Building

    Now converted to luxury apartments as “The Carlyle,” this classical Fourth Avenue bank tower was designed by the firm of MacClure and Spahr. Benno Janssen, who was working at the firm, is said to have had a large part in the design. It opened in 1906. Curiously, the building behind it, the Commonwealth Bank Building, was built at the same time and reached exactly the same height, 300 feet.

  • Reliefs by John Massey Rhind on the People’s Savings Bank Building

    Relief by John Massey Rhind

    John Massey Rhind was Andrew Carnegie’s favorite sculptor; he gave us the Noble Quartet in front of the Carnegie Institute and the statue of Robert Burns outside Phipps Conservatory. Here he gives us some allegorical figures to adorn the entrances to the People’s Savings Bank’s splendid tower at Fourth Avenue and Wood Street. Not altogether coincidentally, the building itself was designed by Alden & Harlow, Carnegie’s favorite architects, whose firm (with their earlier partner Longfellow) was also responsible for the Carnegie Institute. Above, the Wood Street side; below, the Fourth Avenue side.

    Fourth Avenue side
  • Reflection of the Union National Bank Building

    Union National Bank building reflected

    The top of the Union National Bank Building (now the Carlyle luxury apartments) reflected in the Patterson Building.

  • Keystone Athletic Club

    Keystone Athletic Club, now Lawrence Hall

    Two universities in Pittsburgh have signature Gothic skyscrapers. Everybody knows the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt, but Lawrence Hall at Point Park University is also Gothic and also a skyscraper. By a strange coincidence that probably no one else in history has noticed (this is how dedicated old Pa Pitt is to you, his readers), it is within a foot or two of being precisely half the height of the Cathedral of Learning. (Cathedral of Learning: 535.01 feet; Lawrence Hall: 265.72 feet. Source: Emporis.com.)

    It was not always Lawrence Hall, of course. It was built as the Keystone Athletic Club in 1927; the architect was Benno Janssen, who also designed the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, the Twentieth Century Club, and the Masonic Temple, all in Oakland, and a remarkable number of other prominent buildings in the city. The Depression was hard on clubs; the Keystone Athletic Club (doubtless saddled with debt from building a skyscraper clubhouse) collapsed in 1934, and after that the building was a hotel until Point Park College picked it up in the 1960s. It was renamed for the Renaissance mayor David Lawrence, and now it anchors the ever-spreading downtown campus of the university.

  • The Arrott Building Reborn

    Arrott Building

    After much expensive restoration and renovation, the Arrott Building (designed by Frederick Osterling) has reopened as a hotel called “The Industrialist.” The exquisite lobby has been carefully preserved. The picture above is huge, stitched together from several photographs to make what may be the only complete head-on picture of the Wood Street façade of the building on the internet.

    Entrance to the Arrott Building