Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Highland Towers, 340 South Highland Avenue, apartments

Are you ready for a treat? Tonight I'm going to show you Shadyside's amazing historic landmark, designed in 1913-14: Highland Towers. 

When it opened on Highland Avenue, Highland Towers Apartments was the height of modernity. The building, which originally contained four 10-room flats, featured such modern wonders as telephones, electrical connections in every room, clothes dryers, a central vacuum cleaning system, a Modulated Vapor System adjustable for each room and a room for servants in each unit.

While the Old Heidelberg promised cozy, fairy tale-like spaces, Highland Towers boasted a high-class home that was the product of modern art and science. The flats' living rooms, dining rooms and solariums were located towards the front of the building, with the bedrooms, libraries and servants' rooms towards the back.

Today, Highland Towers has been much-altered. The four flats are now 36 apartments. 

The front sides are covered with tile mosaics!

Like me, Porter remains ever-hopeful that someday, someone will invite us inside.

This building, unlike so many of Scheibler's others, sprawls right to the sidewalk. There is, however, a small garden court above the sidewalk (between the two staircases) for the eyes of the residents. 

This is just to show you the side and rear. Even the side has been artfully designed! The building's original brochure promises a garage with rooftop gardens, but unfortunately, I didn't go looking for it. I should have.

Now for an extra treat... Franklin West, the company that manages Highland Towers, has photos of the incredible interior on their website. I can not get over the art glass, arches, fireplaces, built-in dressers and other details.

You can visit their site over here, or check out my favorites below. Of course, I did not take these photos.

See how some rooms are divided by 3/4 walls.


  1. i love this one so much! especially those floor to ceiling art glass windows. <3

  2. I recall seeing the Highland Towers for the first time in the early 1980s before I was aware of Frederick Scheibler and initially thought perhaps a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright had designed them. Again, an innovative design, bold in its open concept plan and nothing like a typical building of its time.