Pittsburgh's skyline is full of architectural and cultural history. Visit the Fort Pitt Block House, Frick Building and many more during your visit.
Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail Complex
Stunningly beautiful. Singularly graceful. A symphony of arches. Considered by many to be the leading architect of the 19th century, Henry Hobson Richardson's 19th century neo-medieval design combines stunning brickwork and crisp granite detail. An outdoor fountain in the courtyard park highlights the magnificent riverfront structure, while the Bridge of Sighs (mirroring the Venice original) --at one time used to transport prisoners--connects the Courthouse to the former jail. What Richardson considered his best work remains among elite architectural company in Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle.
Born out of a merger between The Bank of New York and Mellon Financial Corporation, The Bank of New York Mellon has a substantial Pittsburgh presence. It's the oldest banking corporation in the nation - tracing its roots back to Alexander Hamilton. BNY Mellon Center is 55 stories and was completed in 1983. It is the second-tallest building in the city, boasts an eight-sided design and a rooftop heliport. On a clear day it is possible to spot the building from as far as 50 miles away.
Fort Pitt Block House
The Block House is the oldest structure in the City of Pittsburgh and the last vestige of the British Empire, built here in 1764 by the English Army. Much of its original fabric is still intact and it is open and free to the public year-round as an historic landmark. The Block House is the focal point in Point State Park where the three rivers of Pittsburgh, the Allegheny, the Ohio and the Monongahela, meet.
The Frick Building (1901-02), the first of industrialist Henry Clay Frick's architectural ventures on Grant Street, Downtown. In 1903, Leslie's Weekly judged it "the finest office building in the world," and no wonder: Daniel Burnham gave the coke and steel king a vertical version of the White City, a neo-classical tower with a dazzling white, T-shaped marble lobby, clean and crisp as a new dollar bill; bronze lions flanking the entrance; and John La Farge's stained glass window, "Fortune and Her Wheel," above a marble bust of Frick installed after his death in 1919.
Fifth Avenue Place
Home to Highmark, Pennsylvania's largest health insurer, Fifth Avenue Place was completed in 1988 and has 31 floors. The structure is made of a unique granite frame for roughly 450 feet and then collapses inward in a pyramid shape for another 124-foot-tall roof structure. Protruding from the top of the skyscraper is a 178-foot-tall mast. Despite its rounded appearance, the 13-story structure is actually 12-sided and measures four feet in diameter.
Rising 44 stories above the Downtown skyline, the Gulf Tower beacon glows different colors according to weather conditions. Built as the headquarters for the Gulf Oil Company, the structure was completed in 1932. The crown of the skyscraper is modeled after the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in the style of the step pyramid. The building was listed as a Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmark in 1973.
K&L Gates Center
K&L Gates Center is one of the major distinctive and recognizable features of downtown Pittsburgh. The building, long known as One Oliver Plaza and briefly as FreeMarkets Center and Ariba Center, was completed in 1968, has 39 floors and rises 511 feet above downtown Pittsburgh.
Omni William Penn Hotel
Built in 1916, this grand hotel boasts a history as one of the architectural centerpieces in downtown Pittsburgh. Unique features include the historic filigreed arches cradling the main lobby space, elegant lanterns that once again grace the sidewalk. Enlarged in 1929 by architect Benno Janssen and his partners, the hotel lobby has Old World elegance, with its potted palms, crystal chandeliers and classical music. The hotel's finest room, however, is on the 17th floor -- the Art Deco ballroom designed by New York architect Joseph Urban. The hotel is the last of four buildings in three adjacent blocks commissioned by industrialist Henry Clay Frick, who sometimes reserved the Presidential suite for his own use.
One Oxford Centre is actually a complex of six buildings, all of matching glass and steel design. Completed in 1983, One Oxford Centre has 46 floors in its main tower and rises 615 feet about Downtown. The tower has nearly 1.5 million square feet of office and high-end retail space. At night, 43 spotlights illuminate the Centre with a total of 55,000 watts that create a glowing effect said to be greater than any other high-rise in the U.S. The building is designed the way it is, with so many sides, because the developers wanted as many corner offices in it as possible.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, The PNC Financial Services Group is one of the nation's largest financial services companies. Three PNC/Fairmont is a 23-story skyscraper and is one of the nation's largest mixed-use LEED-certified green buildings. It's also the site of one of the largest "living walls" in North America. Included is the green 185-room Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel, as well as 28 luxury condos. The company is at work on The Tower at PNC Plaza, which is expected to be the world's largest green high-rise.
Beautiful PPG Place is the headquarters for PPG Industries, Inc. and perhaps the most distinctive building in Pittsburgh's picturesque skyline. PPG Place, a large building complex including a 40-story tower (635 feet) with five satellite buildings that cover a six city block area, was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. The large urban complex was in part inspired by two existing architectural landmarks in Pittsburgh, the Cathedral of Learning in the University of Pittsburgh's campus and H.H. Richardson's Allegheny County Courthouse.
In PPG Place, Johnson made loose use of Gothic architectural vocabulary, translating it into modern materials and construction techniques. PPG Place stands perhaps as one of Johnson's buildings that best demonstrate his wit and affinity for mixed messages. By mixing historical forms with modern methods of construction, Johnson created a post-modernist building which is truly unique, in part due to its use of materials, which were immensely appropriate since PPG is a leading manufacturer of curtain wall assemblies.
Union Trust Building
Formerly known as the Union Arcade (1915-1917). The architect of this Flemish Gothic fantasy was Pittsburgher Frederick J. Osterling, who had enlarged Frick's Point Breeze home two decades earlier. It is Frick's answer to the then-new Woolworth Building in New York City, the world's tallest. When it opened, it was Pittsburgh's most sumptuous shopping mall, although its four floors of shops have been reduced to one. Step inside, walk to the center and look up into the delicate lace of the stained glass dome.
U.S. Steel Tower
Designed by Harrison & Abramovitz, the world headquarters of the U.S. Steel Corporation was completed in 1971. During the initial planning stages, the U.S. Steel Corporation seriously considered making this development the world's tallest building. The tower's shape, mirroring the shape of Downtown Pittsburgh, is a triangle with indented corners. It was the first building to use liquid-fireproofed columns. At the time of its completion this was the world's tallest building outside of New York and Chicago, and is still the tallest building in Pittsburgh at 64 stories. When its construction was completed in 1971, the building was considered to be an engineering masterpiece. The Tower is home to the global headquarters for both the U.S. Steel Corporation and UPMC, a leader in innovative health care practices and a health insurance provider.
Built in the early 1930s, Chatham Village is a model planned community with rowhouses, garden courts, greenbelt and recreation facilities opened through the Buhl Foundation to promote social reforms and housing improvements for middle-income families. This influenced the development of 20th century urban planning in the US.
Cathedral of Learning
The Cathedral of Learning is the centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh's main campus in Oakland. Standing at 535 feet, the 42-story Cathedral is the tallest educational building in the western hemisphere and the second tallest in the world. The Cathedral was commissioned in 1921 and finished in 1937, and has 2,529 windows.
The first and third floors of the Cathedral of Learning are home to 29 Nationality Rooms. As gifts to the University of Pittsburgh from the city's ethnic communities, these 30 unique classrooms take you on a voyage of world cultures and global traditions. Witness designs that range from Byzantine and Classical to Renaissance and Romanesque. Step inside Beijing, Damascus, Athens and more to hear each room's unique story without having set foot outside Pittsburgh.