I used to see this building from my dentist's office while he was working on my teeth and I used to think, those poor bastards, stuck there having to hold up the roof of that building for an eternity, it made what I was going through a little easier.
Now everyday on my way to work I see this building and I can't help but look up and pity the poor bastards and think that my day can't be as bad as that.
Now about the building, this is the Park Building, built by Park Steel Company and designed by architect George B. Post .
The Park Building is one of the oldest surviving steel frame buildings and the oldest skyscraper in Pittsburgh. With the advent of steel framing in the United States in the late 1800s, as well as the invention of safe elevators, allowed for the construction of taller and taller buildings and led eventually to the modern skyscrapers we have today. George Post designed the Park Building for David and William Park owners of the Park Steel Company. Post used a Classical form, stone base, brick shaft, and ornamental cap with elaborate classical details, the most spectacular is the row of kneeling male figures called "atlantes" (Greek) or "telamones" (Roman) supporting the ornamental cornice at the roofline. A incompetent remodeling job in the 1960's, with no thought to the aesthetic and historic beauty of the building all but ruined the classic look of the building. In my opinion the architect who did this should have had his license revoked.
The Park Building was in the news recently or at least the McDonalds Fast Food restaurant on the first floor was when a manager was arrested for selling drugs, talk about your happy meals. There seems to be some restoration work going on about the cap and to telamones. The telamones number around 30 and on 3 sides are tan colored while the ones in this shot are green. Also note the Venus de Milo of the group on the far right with it's missing head and arms.
This photo was taken from the roof of one of the parking garages near Oxford Center.
Here is a tongue and cheek look by the Pittsburgh City Paper at some of the buildings that occupy Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh [link]