Our next few posts will take in a core group of mid-century commercial buildings in downtown Pittsburgh, next to “The Point.” The locally named point is actually Point State Park, sited at the meeting point of Pittsburgh’s rivers. Creation of the park started in the 1950s, around the time many of the neighboring buildings were being constructed. Much of the land was taken through eminent domain to remove the existing industrial uses in the area.
Our first building, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette building was actually built in 1927 for the newspaper. The original building was a Romanesque style warehouse structure. However, as the city and state started developing this area into a new office hub in the 1950s and 60s, instead of tearing down their building, the Post-Gazette simply covered it in a curtain wall facade of unusual design. The new facade was added in 1962.
The building was listed as a contributing resource to the Pittsburgh Renaissance Historic District in a recent National Register nomination by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, which incorporates many of the mid-century buildings nearby. In the summary of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Building, the nomination form describes the 1962 facade as such: “The spandrels and an accent vertical band on the north elevation were overlain with aluminum screens of staggered squares and rectangles that are somewhat reminiscent of the contemporary art screens of Harry Bertoia.” It is unclear from the National Register report what architectural firm was responsible for this alteration. Regardless the building’s facade remains intact from this period and is an interesting comparison with other neighboring buildings of the era.
The building is still owned and used by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today. Much of the information in this summary was adapted from the National Register nomination form, which provides considerable historical background on the area and its architecture.