Stop 6: Allegheny County Courthouse and Office Building
436 Grant Street & 542 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219
Situated catty-corner from one another across Forbes Avenue, the Allegheny County Courthouse and Office Building are easily identified by their notable medieval designs. The Courthouse and accompanying jail complex were built by internationally recognized Henry Hobson Richardson, who famously revitalized Romanesque architecture. The County installed an 8,400sf green roof on top of the Office Building in 2010, fitted with a variety of technologies, such as intensive and semi-intensive shrub plots with diversified soil depths for rainwater collection. The roof reduces storm water runoff into the sewer and provides greenery to purify the air. Both buildings represent architectural resilience and are landmarks for historians and casual art-appreciators alike. When keeping historic buildings like these in use, we not only preserve historical character but also save embodied carbon through avoided demolition and new construction.
More About these Buildings:
- Up to an inch of rain can be captured by the green roof during a 24-hour storm
- The green roof limits the urban heat island effect by removing heat from the air via evapotranspiration and acts as an insulator, minimizing energy needed for HVAC systems
- Ornate architecture composed of classic Renaissance and Romanesque details such as Syrian arches, French Gothic windows, and Byzantine capitals deemed the building appropriate to be added to the National Register of Historic Places
- Fun Fact: The current courthouse is Allegheny County’s third in history, having lost the first to dilapidation and the second to a fire in the 19th century