Welcome to the Hall of Architecture, where history comes to life.
Since 1907, our collection of over 140 plaster casts of architectural masterpieces from the past has been a treasure of Pittsburgh. Our Hall of Architecture was inspired by one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and it has remained intact through decades of public exhibition. Visiting the Hall of Architecture offers the rare opportunity to appreciate a cultural phenomenon of international scope.
Why Plaster Casts?
In the past, collectors believed that a replica of a masterpiece was superior to a mediocre original. This fascination with plaster casts dates back to ancient Greece and Rome and continued through the Renaissance into the 19th century. Plaster casts were particularly popular during this time as they were featured in international fairs and served as educational tools for both amateurs and art students.
Our collection was made possible by the vision of Andrew Carnegie, who by 1907 had amassed a collection of 144 architectural casts, 69 plaster reproductions of sculpture, and 360 replicas in bronze, including beloved favorites from classical antiquity, such as the Apollo Belvedere and the Venus de Milo, as well as Gothic masterpieces like the Florence Baptistry doors, and even a full reproduction of the facade of St.-Gilles-du-Gard.
Nowadays, plaster casts are not as popular as they once were, and most collections have been dispersed or destroyed. We invite you to come experience this distinguished part of our collection for yourself, and step back in time to encounter the beauty of these architectural masterpieces!