In Retrospect: Five Landmark Projects

In Retrospect: Five Landmark Projects

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

– Marcus Garvey


Throughout its rich history and metamorphosis as a firm, IKM has remained at the forefront of creating significant, meaningful architecture in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. Now in its 11th decade, several of these timeless projects still stand today, serving their original purpose and capturing a moment in time in an ever-changing landscape of industry and culture.


Pittsburgh’s Board of Public Education

In 1928, IKM’s precedent firm Ingham and Boyd designed Pittsburgh’s Board of Public Education building, described by architectural historian Franklin Toker as “a graceful Renaissance palace.”  Elegant in its mass and proportioning, well-mannered in its detailing, this iconic building predates neighboring Mellon Institute, Heinz Chapel, and the completion (but not the inception) of the Cathedral of Learning, and is still used as the board’s administration building today.


Chatham Village

In 1932, founding architects Ingham and Boyd designed the homes for Chatham Village on Mt. Washington to provide an idyllic living space for middle income families. Distinguished as a National Historic Landmark in 2005, the residential community remains viable and desirable after 80+ years. Toker describes the architecture as “gracious but simple Georgian.”  The scale and mix of the homes was the perfect complement to Clarence Stein and Henry Wright’s renowned planning of the urban community.


 Allegheny County Jail

At the turn of the 20th century, IKM designed the adaptive reuse of the H.H. Richardson’s National Historic Landmark Allegheny County Jail for the County’s family courts.  This dramatic and respectful transformation brought rich utilization to a building that had become synonymous with unfeeling neglect.  Wings that housed forbidding iron cell blocks were infilled with new floors to house court rooms, judges’ chambers, and offices, and the central rotunda became a soaring, glass-enclosed atrium.  The renovation was designed and carried out in accordance with The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

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Phipps Conservatory

In 2005, IKM was commissioned to design the Welcome Center and Tropical Forest Additions to Phipps Conservatory.The Welcome Center was designed to replace the insensitive International Style entrance built in the 1960s, which had replaced the Conservatory’s original Richardson Romanesque entrance.  A physically welcoming structure described as “dramatic” by Toker, the Welcome Center was designed in the manner of the domed glass pavilions of Lord & Burnham’s original conservatory, is approached on a gradual descent, and embraces a spacious entry court.


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Most recently, IKM has raised the profile of a Pittsburgh artistic institution with the design of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Annex.The high visibility of this addition literally showcases the dancers who are part of the Ballet company as well as those of Ballet’s nationally-renowned educational programs.  IKM gave a clean, contemporary and exciting street face to an otherwise mundane and tired-looking building. IKM Project Manager, Jon Lusin, deems the Annex one of our strongest modern contributions to the Pittsburgh community and demonstration of our strengths as a firm, “No matter what time of day, when I’m driving down Liberty Avenue, this project makes me want to stop and look at it.” 





Bob Bailey, Specifications & Constructability Specialist, AIA, CSI, CCS, LEEP AP

Technical mentor, mystery novel enthusiast, owner of dog with questionable vision

Mantra: “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

– Voltaire