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Crown American Building

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1986–1989, Michael Graves. 1 Pasquerilla Plaza

Frank Pasquerilla commissioned Michael Graves to design a new headquarters for his multimillion dollar real estate conglomerate after seeing Graves's Humana Building in Louisville, Kentucky, completed in 1985. The Crown American shares the warm tonality and basic geometric vocabulary of the Humana Building, since both the client and the architect shared an interest in Italian art, Tuscan coloration, and classical forms. The building consists of three parts: a main office block, a porte-cochere, and a rotunda. The office block's lower two floors are faced with brown agate granite from South Dakota, and the upper floors are of lighter-colored Kasota limestone. A Doric-columned structure suggestive of an ancient temple crowns the building. The massive four-story portecochere's heavy square pillars extend two stories in height, concluding in a steep truncated pyramid. The porte-cochere repeats the color scheme of the main block. A three-story, freestanding Doric rotunda in front of the building has columns cast of resinous concrete that are enormous versions of those in the rooftop arcade. The building's unusual silhouette fits well within the context of downtown Johnstown, primarily because Graves kept the edifice in scale with its surroundings, even though some of its individual parts are on a monumental scale.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Crown American Building", [Johnstown, 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, 316-316.

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