The 1953 downtown home (AL28) of ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America) was an epochal corporate headquarters, but at thirty-two stories and 475,000 square feet, it no longer corresponded to corporate needs of the 1990s. This replacement downsized ALCOA to 340,000 square feet in a radically different configuration of just six stories.
The new ALCOA helps restore to the north bank of the Allegheny River the visual coherence lost after World War II through piecemeal destruction and construction. West of ALCOA stands the North Shore Center office park; east of it rises (rather awkwardly) Lincoln at North Shore, a maze of apartments and town houses from 1997. Behind ALCOA, at 100 Sandusky Street, is the elegant headquarters of SMS Demag (1994, UDA Architects). These are all important parts of the emerging urban fabric of the North Shore, but it is the wavelike ALCOA that best defines the district now.
The architects worked closely with the firm's employees to program the six-story building into three segments. The first is a