Skyscrapers, Old and New

The Tower at PNC Plaza under construction in March of 2015. In front of it, three of the Fourth Avenue towers: the Benedum-Trees Building (1905, architect Thomas H. Scott), the Investment Building (1927, architect John M. Donn), and the Arrott Building (1902, architect Frederick Osterling).

Fidelity Building

If you love architecture, Fourth Avenue gives you a more varied aesthetic experience per block than any other street in the city. Here we have the Richardsonian Romanesque style as it applies to a proto-skyscraper: the Fidelity Building, designed by James T. Steen. It opened in 1889, when Richardson’s courthouse on Grant Street was brand new. Its seven floors are close to the limit for pre-steel-cage architecture. Only a year after this building opened, construction began on the Conestoga Building on Smithfield Street, the first steel-cage building in Pittsburgh.

The photograph is huge, by the way: at full size it’s 8.88 megabytes, so don’t click on it on a metered connection. Once again, old Pa Pitt has put it together from multiple photographs, which was the only way to get the whole front of the building from across the street.

Four Gateway Center

A 1960 skyscraper by the prolific Harrison & Abramovitz (who also gave us the U. S. Steel Tower, the Westinghouse Building, and the Alcoa Building). Father Pitt thinks it looks better as an architect’s rendering than in person. He has therefore made his photograph (merged from three separate photographs) look as much like an architect’s rendering as possible.

Downtown from the Thirty-First Street Bridge

A grey day, and the U. S. Steel Tower has its head in the clouds, as it often has. Below we see the frozen back channel of the Allegheny at Herr’s Island (or Washington’s Landing).

Camera: Olympus E-20n.

Your Downtown Panorama of the Day

This time without falling snow. The one above, made from eighteen separate photographs, is quite large (about 37 million pixels), so don’t click on it on a metered connection. It’s the largest stitched picture old Pa Pitt has made to date, but Hugin handled it perfectly and automatically. The picture below is a more manageable size.

Camera: Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3.