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1. Gulf Building. Seventh Avenue and Grant Street. 1932. Trowbridge & Livingston (New York), architects. At 581 feet, the tallest Pittsburgh building of its time. Koppers Building. 1929. Graham, Anderson, Probst & White (Chicago), architects. These rather staid firms attempted to express progressive spirit.

2. Koppers Building. Bell Telephone (right, rear) is less concerned to assert progressive thinking.

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3. Koppers Building: second floor of lobby. 4. Electrical substation, Chadwick Street, Sewickley. C. 1930. Architect and metalworker not known
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5.Medical Arts Building. Fifth Avenue and Atwood Street, Oakland. 1932. Maximilian Nirdlinger, architect 6.111 Circle Drive, Swan Acres, Ross Township. 1938. Harry C. Clepper, architect.
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7Doorway, c. 1930. Bigelow Boulevard near Craig Street. Architect unknown; sculptor Giuseppe Moretti(?).

Dressed for the Occasion: Eclectic Architecture in Pittsburgh

A series by Walter C. Kidney

7. "Modern" at various times. Part II

Around 1920, American architecture became more traditional, in a rather loose way. Avant-garde Europe now favored stark, geometrical design that had little appeal here. But by the end of the 1920s the Moderne — which included the flowery style we now call Art Deco and the more geometrically ornamented Modernistic — had popularity in apartment houses, smart shops, and business and industrial buildings housing Progress in its various manifestations.

Here are two industrial headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh: the Gulf and the Koppers Buildings, Gulf Oil Corporation.

The Koppers Company, makers of chemical by-product recovery machinery, had their architects deviate from their usual Classicism to produce a building gracious but conspicuously new. The roof, of green copper, may be a rebus.

An interior of the Koppers Building. The mathematically-based ornamental style of the Modernist Claude Bragdon may be a source.

An electrical substation in Sewickley includes some seemingly allegorical metalwork.

The Medical Arts Building was Modernistic, though much of its once-progressive detailing has been removed.

Now and then, the new styles appeared on houses and other modest structures: this house is in Swan Acres, one of several.

A doorway of unknown purpose, with a group of putti.

Nevertheless, these were exceptions, styles and manners chosen in non-traditional contexts. Tradition, however loosely interpreted, prevailed in the Eclectic period.

Koppers Building. 1929. Graham, Anderson, Probst & White (Chicago), architects. These rather staid firms attempted to express progressive spirit.
Koppers Building. Bell Telephone (right, rear) is less concerned to assert progressive thinking.