City Guide: 8 Places to Visit in Pittsburgh

City Guide: 8 Places to Visit in Pittsburgh

By Allie Weiss
In our July/August 2014 issue, architect Andrew Moss walks us through the home he and his wife, electrical engineer Michelle Yanefski, built for their family in Pittsburgh's up-and-coming Lawrenceville neighborhood. Here, in his own words, Moss offers his take on the rapidly evolving city—a once-industrial beacon in the midst of transforming into a creative hotbed. (And click through the slideshow for his top design picks in Steel City, from where to shop for Eames furniture to the best place for Mexican dinner.)

The city has embraced its urban neighborhoods. We’ve seen a lot of investment into the neighborhoods, into the old business districts and the main streets. These were main commercial streets that had fallen by the wayside, and there are lots of vacant storefronts. What we’ve seen in the past five, ten years is a lot of new energy being put into these areas—new stores, new restaurants. People are moving back into the city who had been in the suburbs.

Scaife galleries at Carnegie Museum of Art

"In one of this country’s great art museums, the Scaife galleries were an addition in 1979 designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes," Moss says. "The front entry plaza includes a classic Richard Serra steel sculpture." Photo by Tom Little.

Pittsburgh is such a neighborhood town. There’s something like 90 neighborhoods that make up the city, and each one is very distinct. It’s such a hilly city that the topography really helps to isolate all these neighborhoods. Each one has its own characteristics about it.

Cure restaurant in Lawrenceville

"The work of chef Justin Severino, Cure is a nationally recognized restaurant in the Lawrenceville neighborhood," Moss says. "Arguably the best meal I have had in the city. It's set in a small, historic storefront and the dining room is warm yet unassuming." Photo courtesy of Cure.

Part of it also is that city is finally embracing its rivers. The city grew up with the steel industry and the rivers were just a means of transportation—they were polluted, and all the industries lined the shores. Over the past 50 years, and over the past five to 10 years moreso, the rivers have been reclaimed for new, better uses that engage the riverfront. There are new bike trails all over the place. People are getting outdoors.

The Alan I W Frank House

Architecture fans shouldn't leave the city without a visit to the Frank House, designed by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer in 1940 for prominent engineer Robert Frank. Read more about the house here. Photo courtesy of Frank House.

Pittsburgh has a grittiness about it as a whole. People aren’t ashamed of it, they’re fine with it. They aren’t looking for things to be too polished or perfect. They don’t want just bland buildings that could be found almost anywhere. There’s a desire to keep that aspect of the urban character.

Gates and Hillman Centers at Carnegie Mellon University

"One of the more interesting new buildings in the city," according to Moss, the Gates Center for Computer Science and the Hillman Center for Future Generation Technologies on Carnegie Mellon's campus, completed in 2009 by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, is a striking, LEED Gold-certified feat. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

—Andrew Moss, architect

Pennsylvanian Rotunda at Union Station

Pittsburgh's Union Station features a grand circular dome that was designed by Daniel Burnham at the turn of the twentieth century. Moss calls it his "favorite space in the city." Photo courtesy of Civil Arts Project.

Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina

Moss describes Verde as a eatery with a "fabulous tequila selection with a modern Mexican menu and space to go with it." The space features a custom mural by local Pittsburgh artist, Gabe Felice. Photo by Jason Snyder.

Who New? shop

When it comes to retail, Moss recommends midcentury modern boutique Who New? in Lawrenceville. "It's a great place to stroll through and see all of their eclectic household items and furniture," Moss says. "If lucky, you may come across a vintage Eames table or chair." Photo courtesy of Who New?

Andy Warhol Museum

A must-visit for art fans, the Andy Warhol Museum features a diverse array of the Pittsburgh-born artist's work, from his iconic paintings to lesser-known prints, photographs, and sculptures. Photo by Abby Warhola.


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