One of the coolest things we have access to on a day-to-day basis is architecture. Buildings surround us and structure our lives in cities, in suburban neighborhoods, and even in rural terrain. The recognizable forms of architecture in our communities define us and bring us together. Here are the 20 most recognizable architectural landmarks in Pennsylvania.
1. The Pagoda, Reading
The Pagoda was initially intended to be part of a luxury hotel and restaurant, but then was abandoned and donated to the city of Reading.
Completed in 1908, the Pagoda has now been an icon of Reading for more than a century.
2. Philadelphia Museum of Art
The art museum that so many know and love was a long time in the making. Its planning began in 1895 when the city held a contest to design a new museum building, but plans were not finalized until 1907. Construction itself did not begin until 1919, and was not completed until 1928 due to delays caused by World War I.
3. Cira Centre, Philadelphia
Cira Centre, completed in 2005 by Brandywine Realty Trust, holds retail space and restaurants. Its unique shape and glassy exterior truly make it stand out.
4. 30th St. Station, Philadelphia
Chicago-based architecture firm Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White designed the cavernous station that was completed in 1933. It is the hub of public transportation in Philadelphia.
5. Kimmel Center, Philadelphia
The Kimmel Center opened in 2001 as the new venue for the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. The building's distinctive glass ceiling draws in many tourists annually who want to admire its architecture. The Kimmel Center is open to the public whenever there is not a scheduled performance and free tours are given regularly.
6. Comcast Center, Philadelphia
The Comcast Center in Philadelphia is the tallest building in Pennsylvania, standing at 974 feet.
7. PPL Building, Allentown
The PPL Building is instantly recognizable to anyone from the Lehigh Valley, as it's the tallest building in Allentown. During the Christmas season, it is illuminated with a colored Christmas tree.
8. Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, Bethlehem
The Levitt Pavilion was erected at the site of the closed Bethlehem Steel facility.
9. Kinzua Bridge, Mt. Jewett
Kinzua Bridge was, upon its completion in 1882, the highest railway bridge in the world. It was nicknamed "The Eighth Wonder of the World." In 2003, it collapsed. Today, it has been replaced with a glass-bottomed pedestrian footbridge to commemorate its rich history.
10. Fallingwater, Mill Run
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the famous Fallingwater that appears to float above a waterfall. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Pittsburgh area.
11. PPG Place, Pittsburgh
PPG Place in downtown Pittsburgh consists of over 19,000 pieces of glass, and appears to be a glittering castle.
12. Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh
The Cathedral of Learning is an academic building in the Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Part of University of Pittsburgh, It is the tallest academic building in the world.
13. Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail, Pittsburgh
The Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail, located in downtown Pittsburgh, are examples of the Romanesque Revival style. They were designed by H. H. Richardson. The above bridge, that connects the two, is called the Bridge of Sighs. it's modeled after a famous bridge in Venice.
14. Emerald Art Glass House, Pittsburgh
The owners of the Emerald Art Glass company, located on the South Side of Pittsburgh, wanted a cool home, so they hired
to build a home right above the company's factory. The home is a cantilever, meaning that it is supported at only one end. It is three times longer than Fallingwater and possibly the longest residential cantilever in the world.
15. U.S. Steel Tower, Pittsburgh
The U.S Steel Tower, opened in 1971, is one of the tallest buildings in Pittsburgh. Its roof contains the tallest acre of land in the world.
16. Pennsylvania State Capitol, Harrisburg
Joseph Miller Huston designed the State Capitol, which was completed in 1902 in a Beaux-Arts style. It's the third state capitol to be built in Harrisburg.
17. Fonthill Castle, Doylestown
Henry Mercer, an anthropologist and tile maker, lived in the Foothill Castle during the early 1900s. It was built using a unique form of construction that used poured-in concrete.
18. Mercer Museum, Doylestown
The Mercer Museum, located near Fonthill Castle, was built using the same method of poured-in concrete as Fronthill Castle. It contains preindustrial artifacts collected by Dr. Mercer over the course of his career.
19. Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Doylestown
The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works is the third and final building built by Dr. Mercer using the poured-in concrete method. It still produces tiles in the same method that he used in the early 1900s.
20. Andalusia Estate, Bucks County
The Andalusia Estate was built in 1794 in the Greek revival style, and has seen two expansions since its construction. It was declared a National Historic landmark in 1966, and today operates as a museum.
Have you seen all of the buildings on this list? What architectural treasures have been left out? Tell us in the comments below!