Architecture Neighborhoods

The Evolution of East Libery

One of the projects that I wanted to start with this blog involves taking photos of
interesting buildings in different neighborhoods around Pittsburgh. On a recent sunny
day, with cameras in hand, it was the perfect time for us to venture around East Liberty.

Over the past few years the progress made in this area is dramatically visible.
East Liberty was at the top of my list for a photo shoot, because it’s one of my regular
haunts and I feel as though you can really see a tremendous difference in the
neighborhood. I was both shocked and amazed to see the New York Times cover the
“urban renewal” that this area is going through. It really deserves the recognition
because a few years ago there was really nothing going on here except a lot crime
and buildings that were falling apart.

Glass Lofts

New structures are being built, new businesses are calling it home, and the area as a
whole has a lot more potential then anyone knew. This is not to say that the neighborhood
does not have its problems. Even as we were walking along Penn Ave. cops were
swarming around a guy walking his dog. We were clueless as to what happened but we
thought we should just keep moving right along.

this building is actually in Shadyside right on the East Liberty border

This door is awesome!

This door is awesome!

A lot of the new buildings in the area have a very clean and modern look to them. One
thing I noticed and appreciated was the beauty in a lot the buildings that were
already there. Most of the time I’m just rushing off to get a drink or consumed with
carrying groceries to my next destination. I never took much time to really look up and
observe all the detail present in the older structures.

This street looks great at night all lit up

I think the buildings that line up East Liberty’s main street (Penn Ave) probably get
overlooked the most. Behind the grit and graffiti, the lines of the art deco patterns and
interesting textures emerge. Noticing these layers creates a nostalgic feeling and makes
you wonder what this neighborhood looked like in its heyday

This texture on this building and the one above is interesting

We are all witnessing a lot of positive changes taking place here. In some cities you
hear about neighborhoods that really need a way to bring it all back to what it use to be.
Well now it’s happening here and I’m excited to see how this will look and take shape
in the next few months.

Article was co-written by Ellen Maddock
Photos are courtesy of Kristy Lumsden

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    “It really deserves the recognition because a few years ago there was really nothing going on here except a lot crime
    and buildings that were falling apart.”

    That statement is a bit degrading to the community of people who have lived there before the “development” began to take effect and to which there has always been something there in spite of the crime and eroding buildings. While urban renewal is helping and making some positive changes, it’s not necessarily all progress.

    • Reply
      March 10, 2010 at 4:14 PM

      My intentions are not to “degrade” the community of East Liberty. I’m sure there was something there before the development took shape. For me and in my opinion I did not find much going on and change needed to happen.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2010 at 2:54 AM

    The thing I love about the redevelopment is the amount of modern architecture being built. Really giving the east end its own vibe.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2010 at 11:43 AM

      I totally agree with you! I think it’s also nice to see modern buildings mixed in with the ones that were already there which creates a unique look.

    Leave a Reply