If you are not from Pittsburgh, there is a good chance you will not believe that this building exists. If you are from Pittsburgh, you may still not believe it. In fact, it is literally invisible to many people, even when they stand right in front of it, until it is pointed out to them: the human brain does not have a category for a building of these dimensions. This is the Skinny Building, which is eighty feet long and exactly five feet two inches deep. It has recently been restored to its Victorian glory, so our friend Father Pitt provided us with this picture.


  1. marian says:

    Pittsburgh does not have a monopoly on skinny buildings. The town where I went to college had a candy store that was built in an old alley that had been roofed over.

  2. Captain DaFt says:

    I was curious as to what the top two floors held… Apartments? Offices?
    A bit of Ducking revealed both to be an art gallery. Rather fitting, I think.

  3. Sigivald says:

    I expect most people do what I did when first viewing the image, which is assume that it was one with the Roberts building, and simply an uncharacteristically schizophrenic set of decoration that didn’t match the neo-classical theme.

    (The unified ground-floor grey stone or concrete facade aids in the impression immensely.)

    • Dr. Boli says:

      You are quite correct that people tend to see this as the Forbes Avenue side of the Roberts Building. A glance at the upper floors of both, however, reveals that they are at completely different levels, the ground floor of the Roberts Building being considerably taller.

      If you enlarge the picture above, you will notice that the upper floors of the Skinny Building are still under restoration inside. The former art gallery seems to have gone. One reader suggested that those two floors would be an excellent place to grow orchids, and it is true that downtown Pittsburgh currently has no first-rate orchid dealer.

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