At the forefront of national and international change, Pittsburgh has long been portrayed as a place for innovative architecture. From its origins as a fort built in 1753 at the urging of a twenty-one-year-old George Washington, through its industrial boom, and into contemporary times, when it has become a pioneer for the ideals and philosophy of environmentally friendly architecture, the city has a history of development that exemplifies the transformative nature of America’s built environment. With The Buildings of Pittsburgh, we now have a substantive reference book (organized by area, with subsets of geographical entries) that relates the architectural history of this ever-changing city up to the present day.

Franklin Toker examines Pittsburgh’s architectural transformations from its early architecture following the Federal and Gothic Revival styles, to the city’s importation in the mid-nineteenth century of new styles in the Romantic tradition, to industrial Pittsburgh with all its factories and huge institutional buildings, and finally to the city’s environmentally conscious renaissance that began in the mid-twentieth century. In doing so, he shows why Pittsburgh has consistently been rated among the top three American cities for buildings by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and how the city once famous for embracing industry and pollution is now preaching the gospel of clean air and "green" architecture.