This fine apartment block stands at the corner of Aiken and Centre Avenues, right on the edge of Shadyside. This afternoon the sun illuminated the whole Aiken Avenue front, so Father Pitt enlisted the aid of modern technology to get a picture of the entire façade from multiple photographs. There are some noticeable stitching errors, but this is probably the best impression you will find of the Aiken Avenue front of this building—at least until old Pa Pitt gets a better picture.
The original picture is about 55 megapixels and more than 22 megabytes of data, so don’t click on the picture if you’re on a metered connection.
“Mrs. Thaw’s Chocolate Church,” as it was called when it was put up, this splendid building was designed by Theophilus P. Chandler, Jr., and opened in 1903. Mary Thaw, the widow of Henry Thaw, paid for most of it, and doubtless specified the architect; Chandler had also designed the Thaws’ mansion, which (alas) is long gone. Chandler was also the architect of First Presbyterian downtown and the titanic Duncan mausoleum and column in the Union Dale Cemetery.
The picture of the front above is put together from eight different photographs, which is the only way old Pa Pitt could get the whole building from this angle.
Designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the successors to H. H. Richardson, this church has an honest Richardsonian pedigree to go with its Richardsonian Romanesque style.
Can you tell that old Pa Pitt is enjoying his new software toy? The picture above is a wide-angle shot stitched together from nine separate photographs. The fisheye view below is stitched together from six; if you click on it, you can have it at about 38 megapixels.
Finally, here’s a picture from the north side of the church, where there is room to get far away enough to take the picture all in one shot.
The Spanish inspiration is unusual for a Pittsburgh building, but this one has all the Moorish elements to make it properly Iberian—tiled roof, series of small arches, geometric mosaics. It faces a triangular park at the intersection of Centre, Aiken, and Liberty Avenues—a place that could have been one of Pittsburgh’s most splendid urban spaces, if Baum Boulevard on the other side had not developed as a row of car dealers.