PPG Place: Wikis


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One PPG Place
PPG Place from One PNC Plaza
General information
Location 600 PPG Place Pittsburgh, PA  United States
Coordinates 40.4398, -80.0032
Status Complete
Groundbreaking January 28, 1981
Constructed 1981–1984
Opening August 1983
Use Office
Roof 635 ft (194 m)
Technical details
Floor count 40
Cost $ 200 million
Companies involved
Architect(s) Philip Johnson
John Burgee
Developer John Burgee Architects
Owner Hillman Properties
Management Grubb & Ellis

PPG Place is a complex in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania consisting of six buildings within three city blocks and five and a half acres. Named for its main tenant, PPG Industries who initiated the project for its headquarters, the buildings are all of matching glass design consisting of 19,750 pieces of glass. The complex centers around One PPG Place, a 40-story office building. Groundbreaking ceremonies occurred on January 28, 1981. The complex buildings opened between 1983 and 1984, and a dedication ceremony took place in April 1984.



The project was started by PPG Industries (formerly Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company) to serve as the company's headquarters, after being based in Downtown Pittsburgh since 1895.[1] The company contracted the project to architect Philip Johnson and his partner John Burgee. Designed in the neogothic style but with modern innovatons, the complex had many inspirations, including London's Victoria Tower,[2] and H.H. Richardson's Allegheny County Courthouse and Charles Klauder's Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh.[3]

The buildings are recognized by their 231 glass spires, with the largest one 82 feet (25 m) tall. Also notable are the surfaces of reflective insulating glass, that served to advertise the projects founder. The buildings contain over one million square feet of PPG's Solarban 550 Twindow - 19,750 pieces. The primary building, One PPG Place is a 40-story tower, with PPG Industries occupying half of the space. The complex also contains a 14-story building, and four 6-story structures. PPG Industries also uses space in one of the other buildings. The lobby of One PPG is a 50-foot-high entrance that features red glass. The building has 21 elevators, each with walls constructed of clear glass panels enclosing fractured glass. In total, the complex cost $200 million.[1]

The design of the building not only made it distinct, but created high energy-efficiency. Heat in the summer is reflected away from the building by the glass, while in winter infrared heat is reflected and contained within the building. The surface walls feature a barrier construction that effectively separates the interior walls from the exterior. The building also collects heat from computer equipment and recycles it throughout the structure.[1]

Construction of the building highlighted Pittsburgh's "Renaissance II period", which saw the Pittsburgh economy falter as a result of steel mill closures, while Pittsburgh Plate Glass remained a Fortune 500 company.[4]

Office space opened in August 1983, the retail shops opened in November 1984, and the complex was dedicated on April 11, 1984.[5]


Upon completion of the project, architectural critics and the media called PPG Place "the crown jewel in Pittsburgh's skyline," "the towering success of downtown Pittsburgh," and "one of the most ambitious, sensitive and public spirited urban developments since Rockefeller Center."[1] In 2006, readers of the Pittsburgh City Paper voted PPG Place as the best building in Pittsburgh.[4]

In 2005, when the vacancy rate of downtown offices was around 20%, PPG Place was between 87 and 89% full. The management company Grubb & Ellis was able to attract out-of-town corporations to relocate operations to Pittsburgh. News America Marketing, a subsidiary of News Corporation, occupies 5,800 square feet (540 m2). Local Kennametal Inc. rented office space, and LandAmerica Financial Group relocated several area office locations to the 12th floor of One PPG Place. Carnegie Mellon University operates alumni relations from the complex.[6]


The Rink at PPG Place

The complex sits on six city blocks (5½ acres) bound by Forbes Avenue and the Boulevard of the Allies on its north and south sides, and Stanwix Street and Wood Street to its east and west.

PPG Place opened an ice skating rink in December 2001 that has become a popular seasonal attraction in downtown. A 60-foot (18 m) Christmas tree is in the center of the rink. At 9,600 square feet (890 m2), the surface is over 2,000 square feet (190 m2) larger than the famous rink in New York's Rockefeller Center.[7][8]

During the rest of the year, the area of the ice rink is a plaza with tables open to the public.[9] The plaza features a fountain with 140 water jets and uses 280 underground lights. Opened in 2003, it was designed by WET Design and SWA Group landscape architecture and urban design.[10] At the center of the fountain is a pink granite obelisk. The plaza is often nicknamed the "Tomb of the Unknown Bowler", for its often-vacant area and the bowling ball like spheres that are part of the obelisk.[3]

In popular culture


  • Franklin Toker, Buildings of Pittsburgh, Society of Architectural Historians, Chicago, Center for American Places, Santa Fe, University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, 2007. ISBN 0-8139-2650-5
  1. ^ a b c d "Downtown: PPG Place". Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. http://www.carnegielibrary.org/exhibit/neighborhoods/downtown/down_n72.html. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  2. ^ "One PPG Place". Glass, Steel, and Stone. http://www.glasssteelandstone.com/BuildingDetail/474.php. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "PPG Place, Pittsburgh PA". Galinksy. 2007. http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/ppg/index.htm. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Rosenblum, Charles (December 16, 2006). "Best Pittsburgh Building: PPG Place". Pittsburgh City Paper. http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A20483. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Architectural Notes". Grubb & Ellis Management Services. 2008. http://www.ppgplace.com/building_notes.shtml. Retrieved December 14, 2008. 
  6. ^ DaParma, Ron (October 16, 2005). "PPG Place attracts tenants in slow market". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_383283.html. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Plaza Ice Rink at PPG Place, Pittsburgh's New Downtown Ice Skating Rink, Debuts December 10". Business Wire. November 18, 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_/ai_80367582. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  8. ^ "The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center". NYC Tourist. 2007. http://www.nyctourist.com/rock_center_ice.htm. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  9. ^ "The Plaza at PPG Place". Grubb & Ellis Management Services, Inc.. 2008. http://www.ppgplace.com/plaza.shtml. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  10. ^ "The Water Feature". Grubb & Ellis Management Services, Inc.. 2008. http://www.ppgplace.com/water_feature.shtml. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 

External links

Coordinates: 40°26′23″N 80°00′11″W / 40.439764°N 80.003172°W / 40.439764; -80.003172



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