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Frederick Sauer Houses

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1904–1930s, Frederick C. Sauer. 615–627 Center Ave., Aspinwall

These houses are a private fantasy by the otherwise restrained designer of a dozen staid Gothic and Classical Revival Roman Catholic churches around Pittsburgh ( AL85). Though trained as an architect in Stuttgart, Frederick Sauer's hometown was Heidelberg, which was the likely model for this rugged and rambling group with their curved and angular forms, picturesque rubble walls, turrets, and chimneys (one of the units bears the name “Heidelberg”). The six rental properties in brick and random stone were built by Sauer with his own hands, and share something of the idiosyncratic glory (though none of the height) of Simon Rodia's contemporary Watts Tower in Los Angeles. This being Pittsburgh, though, Sauer's collection of fantastic shapes was and is commercially viable.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Frederick Sauer Houses", [Aspinwall, 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, 101-101.

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