Immaculate Conception Church, Pittsburgh, PA

IMG_7837 This is an interesting mid-century building sited awkwardly in an odd location. The Immaculate Conception Church is at the corner of Edmond Street and Corday Way in Bloomfield, just off Liberty Avenue. It’s a small site and Corday Way functions much like an alley, so the church faces the back of the commercial buildings on Liberty.

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It’s possible it was built here because it replaced an older church that was demolished in 1959. This one dates to 1961 and is part of a larger complex including a school and possibly a convent. The church has a central, slightly convex entrance of glass and metal with a lobby behind and two distinct facades extending out on either side. Both principal facades incorporate a bay of three, two-story stained glass windows set into concrete arches. The glass is of an abstract design and looks to have the glass embedded into concrete. There is also a round chapel to the right of the entrance with a stone veneer facade and a visible internal stairwell in metal in glass.

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The church was designed by Edo Belli, a Chicago-based architect of Catholic schools and churches mostly. It’s unclear on why he was chosen for this Pittsburgh commission, although he designed buildings across the country and for at least two Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania. One of Belli’s most well-known works, Cuneo Hospital in Chicago, is currently proposed for demolition.

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