Pittsburgh Home by Renowned Architects Remains Virtually Unchanged Inside and Out Since Its 1940 Completion

Kimberly A. Parker

Prime among the architectural treasures of Pittsburgh is the Alan IW Frank House, designed by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. It is located 5 miles from downtown in the city’s leafy Shadyside neighborhood. Gropius, who was the founder of the Bauhaus design movement and chair of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Breuer, who designed the original Whitney Museum in New York City and the Unesco headquarters in Paris, had a four-year partnership from 1938 to 1941, during which they built this nine-bedroom, 13-bathroom home. Property records indicate the home has about 6,000 square feet of interior space, but Alan Frank, the owner who is in his late 80s, says that the total designed and built square footage, including exterior spaces, is around 19,000.

The house was commissioned in 1938 by Cecelia and Robert Frank, Mr. Frank’s parents. He said they collaborated closely with the architects, working with them on many design details; from the selection of the home’s fabrics to their request for a more open main staircase than the architects had initially designed. Mr. Frank said he and his parents moved into the house in 1940. He is currently engaged in a careful restoration of the house.

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