WQED changes Lives
shop WQED


Western PA History Bridges and Buildings Rivers and Valleys Folks in Community The Arts Having Fun

Recycle and Reuse

Pittsburgh is full of grand old buildings looking for a new lease on life. In the last 30 years, people have come to appreciate the benefits of "adaptive reuse," adapting an old building to a new use without changing its architectural character. Heinz Hall, Station Square, the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, and the Heinz Regional History Center are all examples of adaptive reuse. What were the functions of these buildings in their former "lives"? What characteristics of these buildings do you think inspired people to want to save and reuse them?

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks


  • See how some students propose to reuse the old Lawrence Paint Building next to Station Square.
  • Choose an out-of-work building to a new use:
  • Draw a site plan, floor plan, and front elevation to communicate your ideas. Be sure to measure or estimate the dimensions of your building and draw to scale so you can be as accurate and realistic as possible. If you wish draw a rendering or build a scale model.

Lawrence Paint Building

PPG Place from Station Square

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks

Students in Pittsburgh History & Landmarks' Architectural Apprenticeship proposed new uses for this great old timber-framed factory building built in 1897 on the Monongahela River.

Here are their plans:

Armstrong Cork Building

Alcoa Building

The Armstrong Cork Building has had a great view of the Allegheny River from its site in the Strip District. It was built in 1901 from plans by architect Frederick Osterling.

What kind of future can you plan for it?

What other great old buildings in your community are waiting for a new start?

Back to: Activities

[Previous] Discussion
Bridges and Buildings