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WQED Studios

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1969, Paul Schweikher. 4802 5th Ave., Shadyside
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Created in 1952, WQED was the first publicly owned educational television station in the United States. As part of the cultural program of the Pittsburgh Renaissance I, it gained fame as home to Mr. Rogers, the much-loved children's television personality. The combined state-of-the-art studios and administrative facilities encompass 66,000 square feet. The hallmarks of New Brutalism are visible throughout the building, from the raw pouredconcrete exterior to the unrestricted play of space inside. The plan of the complex is bilateral, with studios and conference rooms on the left side and offices housed in four blocks on the right. The subdued interior decor emphasizes texture over ornament, with rough concrete juxtaposed against polished oak and glass block partitions.

Paul Schweikher came to Pittsburgh in 1956 to head the architecture school at Carnegie Technical Institute (now Carnegie Mellon University). The Student Union at Duquesne University (1967; Vickroy Street) was his first Pittsburgh commission. The best external features of this massive, six-story poured-concrete Brutalist structure were the concrete scissor ramps at both ends of the rectangular building. But the Student Union's severe aesthetics were compromised when the entrance ramp was replaced by a double flight of steps, and the ground-floor interior resurfaced in brick in an attempt to make it warmer in tone. Schweikher's structuring of the Union has held up well, housing spaces for recreation, dining, and activities for both students and faculty. The two-story ballroom, illuminated by concealed clerestories, is a particularly grand space.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.



  • 1969


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "WQED Studios", [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 119-120.

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