We Don’t Need Another Big Glass Box – Letter to the Editor

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printed the Letter to the Editor by our Assistant Director, Dave Demko, on Friday, February 28. You can read the original here, but we also reprint it below.


I’m writing in response to the Feb. 20 article “From Bass to Glass: Developer Proposes 21-Story Office Tower at Site of Strip Building with the Smiling Fish Sign.”

Like many Pittsburgh communities, the Strip District is seeing rapid changes as developers rush to build in a “cool” neighborhood. But the planned 21-story glass office tower slated to replace the historic New Federal Cold Storage building violates rules of good urban development: It fails to honor both the unique history and the unique character of the community that will surround it. Pittsburgh doesn’t need another featureless glass box designed without regard for what makes our city a place in which people want to live and work.

Instead, designers would do well to consider the look and feel of the community they want to build in. Aesthetic continuity can help new buildings blend with old while maintaining the spirit of the place. As Pittsburghers, we take pride in what makes each of our neighborhoods unique, and we honor the richness of our history. Our buildings are our art. The current rush to build — with no thought given to context or beauty — threatens to bulldoze all the special qualities that made us “cool” to begin with.

DAVID DEMKO
Assistant Director
Scenic Pittsburgh
Downtown