Pittsburgh's Downtown is a compact area of the city formed by the confluence of the Allegheny River with the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River. This peninsula is constrained on the land side by the steeper elevations of the Hill District, although thin neighborhoods (Strip District and Bluff) stretch along the riverfronts at lower elevations similar to Downtown. 11 bridges (1 is rail-only) link the neighborhood to the North Shore and the South Side across the rivers. The triangle of mostly flat land composing Downtown is fairly densely developed, and organized with a primary grid street pattern that meets a smaller grid street pattern at an approximately 45-degree angle along a major street, Liberty Avenue. The city was laid out in 1784, but little of the 18th century development remains; instead, the majority of development is an impressive array of late 19th to early 20th century buildings, combined with a considerable amount of mid-to-late 20th century highrises. Recent developments of the past decade tend to be low-to midrises with a lesser impact on the skyline, but undoubtedly there will be much larger contemporary highrises for this lively city with a bright future. This thread will focus on the developments from the city's beginning to the Art Deco period.
Fort Pitt Block House, 1764:
This is the only surviving structure from Fort Pitt (1761), the British fort that was built to replace the French Fort Duquesne (1754) that was established on the point of land at the confluence of the rivers. Today, it is within the 36-acre Point State Park.
Fort Pitt Museum, 1969:
This small museum interprets the early European history of the founding of the city and is located in a structure built in part of the original Fort Pitt bastion footprint.
Fort Pitt Outline and Plaque in Point State Park:
Senator John Heinz History Center:
This excellent historical museum (not affiliated with the condiment company founded in the area) is the parent organization that runs the Fort Pitt Museum as well; it also interprets the early European history of the founding of the city, but focuses more on the region's story since then. Located at the edge of Downtown and the Strip District, it has been housed in the former Chautauqua Lake Ice Building since 1996, with an adjoining modern wing opened in 2004.
Penn-Liberty National Register District:
This area comprises many blocks along two parallel streets and has a high concentration of commercial structures from the 1870-1915 time period.
View down Sixth Avenue:
Midtown Towers (built as Keenan Building), 1907:
This is the domed tower in the background of this photo.
Duquesne Club on the right, 1889 (with a 1902 addition on right side); Granite Building on the left (built as German National Bank), 1890:
Allegheny County Jail, 1888:
Henry Hobson Richardson designed this jail, which was used until 1995 and then converted to a court and museum. It connects by an enclosed bridge to the much larger building across the street by the same architect.
Allegheny County Courthouse, 1888:
This grand structure by H.H. Richardson is still used for its original purposes and is a hallmark of his style.
Several other more modest examples of this style, or related to it, can be found Downtown.
Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel (built as Fulton Building), 1906:
The lobby of this renovated building was given a rather contemporary spin with an irreverent furnishing and lighting scheme set within a reverent restoration.
The Pennsylvanian (built as Union Station), 1903:
This railroad station and tower was designed by Daniel Burnham for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1988 it was converted to offices and apartments (the city's Amtrak station is in a utilitarian building behind it).
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station, 1898:
This building is actually NOT Downtown, it is across the Monongahela River from Downtown; but it is fun to compare and contrast these two competing railroads' stations. This one is no longer used for its original purpose either - a large restaurant called Grand Concourse occupies it and is connected to the adjacent Station Square dining and entertainment development.
Heinz Hall (built as Loew's Penn Theater), 1926:
White Glazed Terra-cotta:
Many ornate examples of this architectural treatment abound in Downtown.
Fourth Avenue Historic District Highrises:
Several blocks along and near this street compose a concentrated area of former banking structures, dominated by a fine collection of highrises mostly from 1900-1915.
William Penn Hotel, 1916 and 1929:
Union Trust Building (built as Union Arcade), 1917:
This structure once housed 240 shops and 700 offices before being converted entirely into offices in its early years.
First Presbyterian Church, 1905:
Trinity Cathedral, 1872 (in shadow), Henry W. Oliver Building (designed by Daniel Burnham), 1910:
Frick Building (designed by Daniel Burnham), 1902:
City-County Building, 1917:
Federal Courthouse and Post Office, 1934:
Art Deco's zig-zag moderne style largely bypassed the city; instead, the more somber classical moderne of Depression-era Art Deco favored by the Federal government is prevalent.
Detail on Art Deco building:
Gulf Tower, 1932:
Koppers Building, 1929:
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Pittsburgh Branch, 1931:
All photographs taken in May 2012 by geomorph.
See my other Pittsburgh threads:
Downtown - Modern Era : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=203090
Oakland - Part 1 : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...01#post5951301
Oakland - Part 2 : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=203218
North Shore : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=201890