Regional Enterprise Tower
|Regional Enterprise Tower|
|Location||425 6th Avenue|
|Roof||410 ft (120 m)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Harrison & Abramovitz|
|Main contractor||George A. Fuller |
The Regional Enterprise Tower is a 410-foot-tall (120 m) skyscraper in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, formerly known as the Alcoa Building. It was completed in 1953 and has 30 floors. It is the 15th tallest building in the city and is adjacent to Mellon Square. A unique radiant heating and cooling system is contained in the ceiling: since there are no pipes, radiators, or air conditioning units along the exterior walls, an additional 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) of rentable space was gained. Also, the windows rotate 360 degrees so they can be washed from the inside.
Originally the headquarters for the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA), the unique aluminum walls of the building are 1/8 inch thick, which gives the building a very light weight and economical design. It was the first skyscraper with an all-aluminum facade. Upon ALCOA's 2001 relocation to a new headquarters building on Pittsburgh's North Shore near PNC Park, the old ALCOA building became a home to government entities, regional nonprofits and small start-up companies including the RIDC.
From December 7, 1903 until April 29, 1950 the site of the Regional Enterprise Tower was home to the original incarnation of the Nixon Theater built by Samuel F. Nixon-Nirdlinger and Senator George T. Oliver. On opening night it was described as the "world's most perfect playhouse". An ornate Beaux Arts structure, crowned by a large dome it was arguably the most opulent theater in city history. S. Trevor Hadly in Only in Pittsburgh describes that the interior "was in the Louis XVth style. Inside were massive imitation Parawazza marble columns capped with solid gold. ... The side walls were paneled to look like damask silk ... framed in a molding and styling of green, gold, and red. Velvet and silk draperies added profusely to the décor." Productions such as the 1905 staging of Ben Hur used four horse-drawn chariots while Garden of Allah "called for a herd of camels, horses, and goats and 50 camel drivers." The sale of the site to Alcoa in 1950 was met with protests, with actress Katharine Hepburn writing to the city before demolition: "I'm infuriated, The new skyscraper will be just another building -- maybe fascinating, but not glamorous." 
A second smaller and less glamorous incarnation carried the Nixon Theater name at 956 Liberty Avenue until 1976. That playhouse had opened in 1914 and previously operated under the names "The Victoria", "The Shubert" and "The Senator" but was renamed and refurbished by September 1950. During the 1950s and early 1960s it sponsored family fare but by the 1970s it featured adult entertainment and closed in 1976.
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- "Aluminum Skyscraper" Popular Mechanics, December 1953, pp. 86-87.
- Daparma, Ron (November 27, 2008), CMU-Pitt official moving to development nonprofit, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Potter, Chris (3 November 2005). "I have a picture showing Downtown the early 20th century. The picture had a building with a sign that I recognized from my youth -- the Nixon Theatre. However the location seemed different than I remember. What's going on here?". Pittsburgh City Paper (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
- Barcousky, Len (2 May 2010), Eyewitness: 1950 -- The first Nixon closes; long live the Nixon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, retrieved 10 October 2011
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2008)|
Three PNC Plaza
|Pittsburgh Skyscrapers by Height
410 feet (125 m)
One PNC Plaza
Three Gateway Center
|Pittsburgh Skyscrapers by Year of Completion