The leafy streets of the Pittsburgh neighborhood known as Shadyside are filled with massive, robber baron–era mansions and modest workers’ cottages—brick-and-mortar relics of a once-burgeoning steel industry. There are even a few modernist gems, by the likes of Breuer, Meier, and Venturi. What’s been absent, until recently, is a domicile that most closely resembles a shipping container.
Not that its owner, Jeff Walz, was looking to be provocative when he purchased the charming, 140-year-old farmhouse—interior sight unseen—that once sat upon the lot. But there was nothing quaint, or remotely salvageable, about the dry rot and mildew that greeted him once he ventured inside.