METALCON 2019 will roll into the “Steel City” in five weeks for the first time in its show history and be welcomed by Pittsburgh-based industry giants and this year’s premier sponsors, United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) and PPG. Their names are permanent fixtures in the city and also in the skyline. In an article by Bright Hub Engineering, “Today taller buildings have emerged in the city, yet these two buildings remain popular because of their unique design and engineering material, and the material used for their construction and energy efficient design continues to make them popular among engineers and architects.” Magnificent Metal Monday (MMM) takes a deeper look at both of these buildings.

The two buildings are separated by only a few city blocks, and both uniquely contribute to the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline. Their design as well as the construction materials chosen for the buildings makes them unique in downtown Pittsburgh. The U.S. Steel Tower exhibits Cor-ten steel and PPG Place displays Solarban Twindow glass.

At 64 stories tall, the U.S. Steel Tower is 841 feet high, making it the tallest skyscraper in the city, the fourth tallest in Pennsylvania, the 41st tallest in the country, and the 220th tallest in the world. On a clear day, it can be seen from up to 50 miles away and because the U.S. Steel Tower’s roof does not taper like many skyscrapers, it has the largest roof in the world for its height at one acre. It was once used as a heliport.

The tower is known for its shape — triangular with indented corners, intended to mirror the shape of downtown Pittsburgh — and for being the first building to use liquid-filled fireproof columns, filled with a combination of water, antifreeze, and rust inhibitor. U.S. Steel Tower has 44,000 tons of structural steel and almost an acre of office space per floor, most of which is currently occupied by UPMC, and as such have its letters prominently displayed on top of each three sides of the building.

PPG Place is called “the crown jewel of Pittsburgh skyline.” You might have seen this building in famous TV series and Hollywood movies like Sudden Death, Inspector Gadget, and Land of the Dead. In total, PPG Place, completed in 1984, contains six buildings and covers three city blocks. The gleaming glass and steel structures, known worldwide for their breathtaking design, were developed by John Burgee Architects with the internationally renowned architect Philip Johnson from New York. One PPG Place is shorter than the U.S. Steel Tower; it is 635 feet tall and has 40 floors.

PPG Industries is still the largest tenant of the complex. The buildings contain 19,750 pieces of glass and have 231 glass spires. In total, over one million square feet of reflective insulating glass was used in the construction. Nearly one million square feet of neutral silver Solarban 550 clear reflective glass units were used by PPG. The tower is glazed with 19,750 pieces of glass used for the construction of this building, which is a massive figure in itself. The glass pieces are PPG’s Solarban 550 Twindow, which are energy-efficient.

Bright Hub Engineering highlights that, “in a city known for its unique and inspiring structures – from inclines to bridges, tunnels to buildings, the U.S. Steel Tower and PPG Place live up to Pittsburgh’s high standards; both buildings showcase very different materials, and both are showcase pieces of the Pittsburgh skyline.”

U.S. Steel, a leading integrated steel producer, is sponsoring a brand new highly innovative area of the show floor exhibiting the latest construction technology products and solutions called CONTECH. PPG, one of the world’s largest suppliers of paints, coatings and specialty materials, is sponsoring the PPG Theater, which will feature keynote speakers and other informative educational sessions.


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