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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 1:53 AM
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Pittsburgh - US Steel Tower, Behind the Scenes & The View from the Top

In Spring 2012 I had the magnificent opportunity to explore Pittsburgh’s tallest tower, the U.S. Steel Tower. I was afforded the opportunity to explore every nuance of the building, from the underground transportation links to the parking garage to the penthouse mechanical floors and original Heliport Reception area 64 stories and 841 feet up in the air, where the US Steel Executive would enter his office from his helicopter in the earlier years of the building.

A few interesting facts worth noting about the tower:
  • The tower has about 2,300,000 SF(210,000 m2) of leasable space.
  • It was designed by the well-known firm of Harrison, Abramovitz & Abbe.
  • It is the tallest skyscraper in Pittsburgh, the fourth tallest building in Pennsylvania, and the 37th tallest in the United States.
  • U.S. Steel is still one of the largest tenants of the building, although there are discussions in the works implying they may relocate to the suburbs in the not-so-distant future. UPMC is the largest tenant.
  • U.S. Steel initially considered initially making the building the world’s tallest but settled for the (short) distinction of being the tallest building outside New York City and Chicago when completed in 1970.
  • The triangular structure holds the distinction of being the first to use liquid-filled fireproofed columns for its exposed structure, which was designed to showcase Cor-ten steel.which was made at the former U.S. Steel Homestead Works.
  • The tower contains over 44,000 U.S. tons (40,000 metric tons) of structural steel, and almost an acre of office space per floor.
  • the tower features the “largest roof in the world at its height or above”, at a size of approximately one acre. There has been some conceptual design work proposing to convert this rooftop into a public urban park.

While I was initially bummed by the miserable winter weather upon reaching the top mechanical floors, it actually afforded some interesting shots of the city, a few of which I’ve included as well.

US Steel Tower - Approaching


US Steel Model


Steel Plaza Station Wall Art


Loading Dock Turntable


Loading Dock


Loading Dock Airlock


Parking Garage


Fitness Center


Stairwell from Bottom


Conference Room


Penthouse Deck


Penthouse - Diamond Electric


Penthouse Heliport Control Panel


Penthouse Heliport Escalator


Rooftop View


Stairwell from Top (No I did not walk all the way up). The stack effect here was hard to conceive. Like looking straight into a wind tunnel.


Water Return Systems


Water Supply Systems 1


Water Supply Systems 2


Water Tanks - Testing


Panel - Wish I could recall exactly what this relay panel was for, but it was moving up and down along the belts, and it was impressive to see.


Boiler 1


Boiler 2


Chilled Water Pumps


Control Room


Heliport Weather - Note the -20 degree F temperature out on the heliport deck.


Old Mechanical / Electrical Drawings


Electrical Panelboards


Elevator Cable Wheel Caution - Ok fine, I will resist temptation


There were many of these (around 30?) and they were all whirring very fast. Pretty much standing above 800 feet of empty air.

Elevator Mechanical Penthouse


Empty Floor 1 - doing some mechanical renovations prior to tenant move in


Mech and Duct Work


Fire Suppression System - controls what runs through the exterior columns


Freight Hatch - Portal for moving large equipment between Mechanical floors


HVAC 1


HVAC 2


HVAC 3


And now the views...

View of BNY Mellon from Top of US Steel


View of the Igloo & New Arena


Igloo Demo from US Steel


Igloo Demo from Lobby


William Penn from US Steel


Citizens Bank Building from US Steel


My fav - BNY Mellon from US Steel


And just for old time's sake...









Ok. Back to work - i miss you Pittsburgh! Thanks for stopping by.

Last edited by deja vu; May 23, 2013 at 4:22 AM.
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 2:22 AM
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Thanks for taking the time for this descriptive tour! Quite interesting. Never knew about the helicopter pad, either.
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 2:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
Panel - Wish I could recall exactly what this relay panel was for, but it was moving up and down along the belts, and it was impressive to see.
Older elevator system?

Very interesting tour Deja Vu...probably one of my favorite Pittsburgh threads. I too like the BNY Mellon building a lot! How's the lobby in US Steel? Turnstiles at the elevators? Any sort of lobby renovation in past ~10 years?
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 4:21 AM
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I think you are correct about those panels. The lobby is impressive, to say the least. Like the floors above, it is virtually column-less on the interior, due to the massive exterior structure. The core is substantial - all of the elevators and emergency stairwells (x3) are housed within the central mass, and its reinforcing structure is worked into the tectonic expression of the public space. The lobby and mezzanine are open to the public, but there is a secure checkpoint and turnstiles as you approach the highrise elevators, as you may imagine. At the time the Occupy Pittsburgh movement was just dying down, so security seemed even higher than usual. I realized I had some more pictures that I missed of the approach to the building, the plaza, and the lobby interior / elevator banks, so I included them below to give you a better sense:



















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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 4:23 AM
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I have a view of this building from my window
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 8:15 AM
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Very unique tour... thanks, deja!
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 9:46 AM
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Great building. Super views!
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 1:54 PM
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Amazing. Love seeing all the controls. What a machine!
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 4:31 PM
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Very interesting thread, I´ve enjoyed watching the pics and reading the facts about US Steel Tower. Thanks for sharing.

The views from the rooftop are amazing, though you visited the tower on a low visibility day.

Did you check the outside temperature at the heliport deck? Amazing.

Congrats and greetings from Madrid, Spain!
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 9:00 PM
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How... did u get to take a tour? Do tell!!

The last time I was in that building was probably 1996 or 1997. My mom used to work for Marsh Inc, who from 1978 to 1998 occupied the 55th floor.
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Old Posted May 23, 2013, 9:21 PM
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Pretty neat - thanks!
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Old Posted May 24, 2013, 8:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
How... did u get to take a tour? Do tell!!

The last time I was in that building was probably 1996 or 1997. My mom used to work for Marsh Inc, who from 1978 to 1998 occupied the 55th floor.
It was arranged through a studio class when I was a student in CMU's School of Architecture.
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Old Posted May 24, 2013, 11:16 PM
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It was arranged through a studio class when I was a student in CMU's School of Architecture.
Daggumit... I kinda wish I could have gone to that school. Unfortunately I didn't, and still don't have the funds...
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Old Posted May 25, 2013, 1:45 AM
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Daggumit... I kinda wish I could have gone to that school. Unfortunately I didn't, and still don't have the funds...
Sometimes I think it was almost worth it for all the student debt I accrued.
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