The “Crown Jewel” of Pittsburgh’s Skyline, PPG Place, Turns 40

Vintage Views: One PPG Place (far right). (Courtesy of Vitro Architectural Glass)
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Vintage Views: One PPG Place (far right). (Courtesy of Vitro Architectural Glass)

Date: 12 April 2024

For 40 years, One PPG Place – a shimmering neo-gothic 635-foot tower with iconic spires designed by world-renowned architect Philip Johnson – has defined and shaped Pittsburgh's skyline, becoming an integral part of the city's identity.

The PPG Place complex comprises six office buildings across 5.5 acres in Downtown Pittsburgh, with One PPG Place being the centerpiece. The PPG Place complex has over 230 spires, the tallest being 25 feet tall. Johnson said the castle-like, neo-gothic design was inspired locally by the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning and H.H. Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse.

Nearly one million square feet of Solarban® 550 clear reflective glass is featured at PPG Place. Solarban® 550 glass, a predecessor to today’s environmentally advanced architectural glasses, was chosen because it reflects heat away from the building in the summer to lower air-conditioning costs and reflects heat inward in the winter to reduce heating costs.

Nostalgic Moments: Pittsburgh’s PPG Place was dedicated on April 11, 1984. (Courtesy of Vitro Architectural Glass)
Nostalgic Moments: Pittsburgh’s PPG Place was dedicated on April 11, 1984. (Courtesy of Vitro Architectural Glass)
One PPG Place is glazed with 19,750 pieces of Solarban® 550 glass. (Courtesy of Vitro Architectural Glass)
One PPG Place is glazed with 19,750 pieces of Solarban® 550 glass. (Courtesy of Vitro Architectural Glass)

Introduced by PPG Glass (now Vitro Architectural Glass) in 1964, Solarban® glass was one of the first coated glasses engineered to reflect heat away from buildings to reduce air conditioning use. Since its inception, there have been numerous technological advances in Solarban® glass performance, including the world’s first triple-silver, low emissivity (low-e) coating, Solarban® 70, and Solarban® 90 glass, the first-ever quad-silver low-e coating.

Now celebrating its 60th anniversary, Solarban® glass is world-renowned for reducing energy consumption by lowering demand for artificial cooling and lighting while maintaining indoor temperatures and boosting occupant comfort. Solarban® glass has become the most trusted and proven choice for architects and designers worldwide due to its optimal energy efficiency and transparency.

Today, PPG Place remains the global headquarters for PPG Industries and is home to several restaurants, the Wintergarden, and the PPG Place Plaza, which features an ice-skating rink.

(Courtesy of Vitro Architectural Glass)
(Courtesy of Vitro Architectural Glass)

For more information about Solarban® glass and other Vitro Architectural Glass products, visit vitroglazings.com.

600450 The “Crown Jewel” of Pittsburgh’s Skyline, PPG Place, Turns 40 glassonweb.com

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