the commonwealth building : pittsburgh, pa
anything but common
Client: Pitt Commonwealth
Located in the heart of Pittsburgh Fourth Avenue Historic District, the 21-story Commonwealth Building was constructed in 1906 for the Commonwealth Trust Company. The building’s architectural character and historic legacy on Pittsburgh’s “Wall Street” share in the story of the city’s prosperity and status at the turn of the 20th Century. Over 100 years later, its restoration and repurposing now share in the story of Pittsburgh’s bright future, bringing 140 new apartments into Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle. The project restores the building’s largely intact exterior, while adapting the interiors for new residential use. Joseph Oesterling’s Greek Revival-Style design for the historic tower features a granite base with decorative bronze storefronts. New storefronts replace non-historic infill at this level, recalling the original 3-entry design and serving both resident and commercial tenant spaces.
On the upper floors, extraordinarily large double hung windows sit between a gridwork of sandstone piers and spandrels with terracotta detailing. These generous windows are a key component for the new apartment design, flooding open-plan layouts with daylight, and providing extraordinary views to the city. Apartments utilize thoughtful layouts that maximize use of space, while the design incorporates a contemporary expression of the building’s classical detailing. To the rear of the L-shaped building, the oversized windows provide views to the Monongahela river, and down to a semi-enclosed courtyard at the fourth floor, with connections to the two-story clubroom and other amenity spaces for the Commonwealth’s new downtown residents.
Historic Tax Credit Coordination
Taylor Structural Engineers
Moore Design Associates
Clio Historic Consultants