The historic Great Hall at the Priory in Pittsburgh was the setting for The Traditional Building Conference October 25-26. This was the third event in the Traditional Building Conference Series 2016 and the first time in Pittsburgh, a legacy city. A collaboration with the Pittsburgh Landmarks, produced 8 classroom sessions and three architectural tours. Architect attendees earned up to 10 AIA HSW Learning Units over two days of education.
Pittsburgh is a vibrant living laboratory for learning about historic preservation, adaptive use and urban revitalization. One seminar and a walking tour combined to focus on the 100-year-old Union Trust Building and its recent restoration. This gothic gem was built 100 years ago as an Arcade by industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Wessling Architects of Quincy Mass., the architect team who managed this restoration, guided our tour which highlighted the decorative terra cotta and sandstone preservation. Attendees could see touch and feel the work which had been described back in the classroom.
A second walking tour, guided by Urban Design Associates, a Pittsburgh firm. took us through the city’s north side and across the Clemente Bridge. This session and tour explored how preservation and urban planning have worked together to revitalize historic neighborhoods. Planning principals for walkability and creating street life were part of the learning experience, with a stimulating exchange of questions, answers and opinions among participants.
H.H. Richardson’s Allegheny Courthouse; Market Square; Mellon Square; the Penn Liberty Cultural District and Fifth/Forbes residential retail corridor, led by Landmarks Foundation docents, comprised the context for lively conversation.
The Traditional Building Conference Series: Methods and Materials education theme was evidenced in additional sessions including “Steel Windows: “A Master Class in Repair and Replication;” “Bronze, Cast Iron and Cast Aluminum: Properties, Preservation and Performance; and “Pittsburgh’s Building Craftspeople.” Building codes were also covered is the seminar “Applying Building Codes to Historic Buildings.”
Networking between presenters, practitioners and the technical experts from our supplier sponsor companies was facilitated by the intimate venue, frequent breaks for food and drink, a cocktail party and the Landmarks Foundation documentary “Through this Place” which chronicles how historic preservation has improved the quality of life in the steel city.