The complex is anchored by 1 PPG Place, a 40-story glass tower. The complex also contains a 14-story building and four 6-story buildings. The entire neogothic complex was designed by Phillip Johnson. Johnson’s design was inspired by the nearby Cathedral of Learning and Victoria Tower in London. Construction began on the complex in 1981, and the buildings were dedicated in 1984. PPG Place was one of the last buildings designed by Johnson, who is also credited with other iconic structures including the Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim, the Lipstick Building and the Sony Tower (formerly the AT&T Building), both in New York City.
The energy efficient design separates the building’s interior and its exterior. The exterior glass helps reflect infrared light, which reduces the overall energy consumption of the buildings. The complex also features an outdoor skating rink which is open to the public in the winter. In summer months, the ice rink area features seating and a fountain.
In 2011, the complex was sold to Highwoods Properties. Other retail and commercial tenants also occupy space in the complex, which is about 90% occupied. Highwoods has made a series of controversial changes to the street-level façade of the tower as concessions to its tenants. At the same time, the company has also made improvements and renovations that have been well-received.
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Photo Credit: zharth , via Flickr.com