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.
In American terminology, the Queen Anne style is a hodgepodge of every style of architecture except, perhaps, anything that was popular during the reign of Queen Anne. With its oversized front-facing gable and multiple textures, this house perhaps fits in the “Shingle Style,” often regarded as a division of the Queen Anne style.
Although it’s technically in Shadyside, Rodef Shalom stands at the east end of the Oakland monumental district, the long row of dazzling architecture along Fifth Avenue. Much of the dazzle was contributed by Henry Hornbostel, and few of his buildings are more dazzling than this. It was built in 1907, and it is far and away the finest synagogue building in Pittsburgh.