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Best Buildings To See On Foot In The ‘Burgh

November 5, 2010 5:39 PM

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If you’re walking around downtown, you may notice some historic buildings. Executive Director of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, Louise Sturgess, and Al Tanner compiled a list of the top five buildings you can see on foot in Pittsburgh!

Burke’s Building, 1836

209-211 4th Ave.
Pittsburgh, Pa.15222
www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us

John Chislett, the first professional architect to work in Pittsburgh, designed this Greek Revival office building in 1836. It survived the Great Fire of 1845 and is the oldest architect-designed building in the city.

Allegheny County Courthouse and [former] Jail, 1883-1888

436 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15219
www.alleghenycounty.us

This is the greatest surviving work of Henry Hobson Richardson, America’s most influential 19th-century architect. The Courthouse, designed in the Romanesque style, was the tallest building in Pittsburgh when completed in 1888. The jail is a tremendous example of adaptive reuse and was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A PHLF docent opens the Jail Museum every Monday, February through October, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (except holidays). People interested in touring the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail may purchase a handsomely-illustrated guidebook ($5.75): “Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail Walking Tour,” by Albert M. Tannler (PHLF, 2007).

Union Trust, 1915-17

501 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222
www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us

This Flemish Gothic landmark, designed by Pittsburgh architect Frederick John Osterling, opened as the world’s largest shopping arcade with offices and an auditorium on the upper stories. Visitors are always amazed to see the dramatic 10-story atrium capped by a stained glass skylight.

City-County Building, 1915-17

414 Grant St
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15219
www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us

New York architect Henry Hornbostel, who first came to Pittsburgh in 1904 to design the Carnegie Technical Schools (now CMU), was the master behind this visionary classical design. The ground-floor corridor is one of Pittsburgh’s great interior spaces, with bronze-encased columns, a curtain-wall of glass––quite innovative for the time, a barrel-vaulted ceiling, and bronze elevator doors. Also visit Council Chambers on the fifth floor, with its original furniture and fine inlaid woodwork and ornamental plasterwork and painting.

Koppers Building, 1927-29

436 7th Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pa.15219
www.koppers.com

The city’s finest Art Deco commercial building takes its jazz-age ornamentation from nature: leaves and ferns are elegantly stylized. Chicago architects Graham Anderson Probst & White were the successors to D. H. Burnham & Company (Chicago).

For more information about historical places around Pittsburgh, check out the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation’s website here.

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