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City-County Building

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1915–1917, Edward B. Lee and Palmer, Hornbostel and Jones. 414 Grant St.
  • City-County Building (HABS)
  • City-County Building (Richard W. Longstreth)

The building serves as Pittsburgh's city hall and accommodates additional courtrooms for the county. The detailing appears to be by Edward Lee, who won the competition for the City-County Building in 1914, and here used a modern interpretation of classicism, while the parti almost certainly came from Henry Hornbostel. He turned away from the most obvious elements of Richardson's courthouse—the elaborate towers, projecting and receding pavilions, and extravagant pointed roof—to craft a simple hollow-rectangle plan and nine-story granite elevation that speaks as much the language of business as the rhetoric of government. Decorative touches at the City-County Building are limited to the high triple-arched portico, the Doric colonnade above it, and the barrel-vaulted interior galleria. This leads from an entrance loggia with Guastavino-tiled vaults and cuts axially through the light-court. It is one of the most joyous spaces of the whole downtown: fifty feet high and four times as long, flooded with light from all four sides and glistening with bronze columns.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.



  • 1915


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "City-County Building", [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, 45-46.

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