The Pittsburgh Architectural Club (PAC) is starting up again, after a long dormant period. First founded in 1896 by apprentices working in Pittsburgh architectural firms, PAC once again seeks to promote architecture and the interaction of architects in Pittsburgh in many ways. It is a club open to all interested in architecture, as a social club, to educate members, and to disseminate architecture to a wider public through lectures, exhibits, competitions, publications, public service, job site visits, social events, and more.
A brief history of the club was written as a school paper in 1981 by Helen Lofink. In it, she notes that the club was first incorporated in 1901, and states: “From the beginning, the club had as its main objective, the advancement of architecture and the allied arts. The founders saw the club as a working rather than merely a social organization.” Lofink goes on to quote the first yearbook of the club, from 1901: “while recognizing our modest position in the field of American architecture, we believe that by an earnest effort and a hearty cooperation, we shall succeed not only in the education of our members, but also aid bringing the general public to a better appreciation of Architecture as a fine art; in developing that sense of the beautiful in all things which will prompt us to pause in our headlong chase after material gain long enough to reflect that mere utility has too long been worshipped to the exclusion of beauty, and that progress consists not so much in material prosperity as in spiritual and mental advancement.” This seems like an objective and cause still worth pursuing.
Through the efforts of Gerard Damiani and Debbie Battistone, prospective club members met for the first time on Thu. Sept. 17, 2009, at 6:30 in the CMU Library archives. Librarian and historian Martin Aurand had set up a small exhibit of club memorabiliarom the archives’ collections, and long time members Joe LaRocca and Milan Liptak attended to relate and help transfer the living memory of the club.
We met the second time on Thu. Nov. 12, 6:30, in the Intelligent Workplace of the CMU School of Architecture. We discussed our varied visions of the club, similar clubs elsewhere in the US and abroad, and agreed to begin by creating a Facebook group page and a website, and to collect dues at a Dec. 17 meeting.
The club held annual exhibits of Pittsburgh architecturefrom 1901-1917. See Google books for reprints.
Charette (vols. 1-54, 1920-1974) was the journal of the Pittsburgh Architectural Club. A reprint of the journal is available through the CMU library website, and at: http://andrew.cmu.edu/user/ma1f/ArchArch/Charette/. Info on the journal at: http://andrew.cmu.edu/user/ma1f/ArchArch/Charette/journal.html
For a guide to researching Pittsburgh architecture, see the helpful guides by CMU librarian Martin Aurand, at: http://andrew.cmu.edu/user/ma1f/ArchArch/PGHARCHres/index.html and http://andrew.cmu.edu/user/ma1f/ArchArch/PGHARCHres/resources.html.