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From home restorations and adaptive reuse to new construction and sustainable building, the residential scene in Pittsburgh is diverse and thriving, and the architects even more so. Whether designing to accommodate the sweeping views of downtown Pittsburgh or making stylistically appropriate changes to historic homes, the best residential architects in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have the local knowledge and skills to address any concern that crops up in the design process.
The architects on this list were chosen for their background, experience, and their projects that are individually unique, but collectively indicative of the essential Pittsburgh character.
928 S Aiken Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Fisher Architecture is an advocate for quality, contemporary green design. Led by principals Eric Fisher, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP), and Bea Spolidoro AIA, WELL AP, the firm strives to achieve designs that are thoughtful, progressive, and contextual. As the design process moves forward, clients can expect both Eric and Bea to be easily reachable and communicative, making sure that client goals and objectives are all understood. The firm has also ventured to offer modular construction.
As a product of this approach, the firm has built numerous AIA-certified homes. One such example is this River House in Pittsburgh, which was awarded with the AIA Certificate of Merit. Built for a surgeon and his family, the adaptive reuse project is located by a Pittsburgh street that runs along the Allegheny River. The construction involved saving as much of the existing building as possible and responding to the site context. The result was a unique functional building with an emphasis on place, craft, and community.
3400 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Desmone Architects has been shaping the Pittsburgh region for over six decades. As a full-service architecture and interior design firm, the firm’s practice is rooted in design excellence and superior client service to achieve its clients’ health and wellness. Founded by Luke Desmone, and led by Chip Desmone, AIA, and Eric Booth, AIA, the firm’s team comprises architects, interior designers, and LEED APs. Because the firm is dedicated to wellness as the future of design, it invests in its team as much as it does its clients so that they are able to design projects that will thrive.
Pictured is an example of the firm’s work on a residential project. This private residence, located in Butler, PA, is a custom home that was built to accommodate its owners’ busy schedule, lifestyle, and personalities. The two-story residence, which lies on a sprawling almost two-acre property, exudes an old-world atmosphere. It features ornate and traditional interior furnishings and spacious living and dining areas on the ground level.
5122 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224
When firm founder Andrew Moss returned to his native Pittsburgh after working on award-winning projects for 12 years at Semple Brown Design in Denver, he was inspired by the change and potential he saw in his home city. Andrew went on to establish Moss Architects with the intention of developing responsive, artful, and expressive design solutions for Pittsburgh projects.
The firm designs in residential, commercial, hospitality, and public markets. Showcased here is an example of the firm’s residential design work. The Ligonier Street residence is a home designed for a young, city-dwelling couple in the popular neighborhood of Lower Lawrenceville. The structure is a modern, functional, and light-filled home with sweeping views of the downtown skyline and bridges. The home is composed of three floors. The first floor features the entrance, a formal living room with an alcove for a baby grand piano, and an open plan great room containing the kitchen, dining, and family room. The second floor houses guest and master suites with their own private balconies, and the third floor is itself a large roofdeck, offering views of downtown Pittsburgh.
2110 Sarah St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Founded with the goal of creating thoughtful architectural and interior design solutions, Margittai Architects is a collaborative practice that aims to reinvent Pittsburgh one project at a time. The firm is led by Peter Margittai, AIA, an architect with extensive experience in design through his education at Penn State and the prestigious Ecole D’Art Americaines in Fontainebleau, France.
Today, Peter and his firm apply their skills to challenging projects that generate great designs. One example of the firm’s work is this Tripoli Street residence, which was completed through the firm’s collaboration with Pinnacle Redevelopment and PW Campbell. The home features an open interior plan, while its exterior blends well with the larger context of the historic Deutschtown neighborhood. Two rooftop terraces are also present, providing downtown views. Lastly, the home has a private courtyard design with a fire pit, water element, and an outdoor kitchen, courtesy of landscape architect Mark Ambtman.
DLA+ Architecture & Interior Design
Foster Plaza 10 Suite 500, 680 Andersen Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15220
DLA+ Architecture & Interior Design is a firm with a mission to develop partnerships with clients that last beyond a single project. With an 80 percent repeat business rate, the firm continues to achieve this goal one project at a time. Led by Dennis L. Astorino, AIA, DLA+ provides what it calls “strategic architecture solutions” through a consultative partnership between client and architect.
Pictured here is an example of the firm’s work on a residential project. This American Shingle-style home was completed in 2017 for a client who desired a contemporary plan in an authentic Shingle style. The project involved demolishing an existing house on the one-acre lot as well as designing a stormwater management plan. Once the existing house was demolished, underground retention facilities and surface rain gardens were designed to address the stormwater management problems. The home also featured numerous intricately detailed areas, including the foyer, kitchen, game and exercise rooms, great room, and a custom-built 568-bottle capacity wine cellar.
219 57th St., Studio F, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
With offices in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Midland Architecture is a design studio with a thriving practice, whether in open green spaces or dense urban areas. Led by principals Matt Diersen, AIA, and Greg Dutton, the studio creates spaces that celebrate beauty through simplicity.
The firm’s work has been featured in publications such as Dwell, Wallpaper*, New York magazine, and GQ. It has also been showcased on Discovery’s “Building Off the Grid” and HGTV’s “Restored by the Fords.” An example of the firm’s renovation work appeared in the pilot episode of “Restored by the Fords.” Completed in 2016, the project involved reimagining a mid-century ranch home to reach its full potential. The firm leaned heavily on the history of the home and stayed true to it’s mid-century roots, while infusing the design with fresh ideas. Midland ended up creating an open floor plan, an elongated kitchen layout, and primary storage through open shelving, all of which gave the home a more modern feel.
Wildman Chalmers Design
1600 Lowrie St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wildman Chalmers Design is a Pittsburgh-based firm that specializes in historic renovations, new construction, additions, and interior design for residential, commercial, and hospitality projects. The firm is highly collaborative, and is led by principals Heather Wildman, PE, and Chad Chalmers, AIA, LEED AP.
The Squirrel Hill North home shown here is a mid-century modern house, which needed an update and expansion. Through an addition, the second floor was opened up to create a light-filled stairway, office, and new bedroom with a modernized bathroom. The home’s exterior materials were chosen for their durability and clean aesthetic, which would minimize future maintenance and still complement the original design. The home also features large energy-efficient windows that open up views to the surrounding tree canopy and neighborhood beyond. Overall, the firm created a cohesive, comfortable, and calming feel for the client and their family through modern fixtures, millwork, art, and furnishings throughout the interiors.
1003 McKnight Park Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Jan Brimmeier, AIA, NCARB, runs Architectural Innovations LLC, ranked one of the largest architectural firm in the Pittsburgh region according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. She is a certified Women-Owned Business and one of the largest headquartered in Pennsylvania. In her 30 years of practice, she has completed hundreds of education, commercial, recreation, government, municipal, retail, healthcare, and religious projects. Her firm itself has completed over 2,000 projects ranging in cost from less than $100k to more than $150 million. This impressive feat comes because of Jan’s extensive experience and expertise in the design field, with her credentials including two baccalaureate degrees and several art scholarships, including the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and foreign studies.
Jan’s goal is to bring art back to architecture—something she strives to achieve in all her projects. Today, Architectural Innovations offers services on a broad spectrum of project types, such as architecture, planning, interior design, and consulting services for aviation, governmental, municipal, healthcare, educational, sports, retail, commercial, religious, single-family residential, and multi-unit housing clients, both domestically and internationally.
Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects
5115 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects is a collaborative design firm, which offers services from urban design to buildings and down to individual elements in order to support, connect, and enrich what it calls “the human experience of place.” Led by Karen Loysen, AIA, and Peter Kreuthmeier, the firm meshes client aspirations with a project’s various dimensions such as its context, budget, construction, use, and responsibility to the environment.
The Carriage House, for example, is located in an urban neighborhood of historic mansions and detached single-family homes. The residence began as an updated carriage house to an adjacent mansion before becoming a full-fledged new construction of its own. Although the exterior borrows heavily from the neighborhood context of gables, dormers, and front porches, the materials and details were tailored with a more modern sensibility. Meanwhile, inside, there is an abundance of space, as expressed by the tall ceilings. This spacious home was a collaboration with the owner, contractor, and architect, focusing on the essential elements of what a house is—while at the same time exploring what it can be.
Wilson Architecture + Design
300 Mt. Lebanon Blvd. Suite #201B, Pittsburgh, PA 15234
Wilson Architecture + Design, founded by its namesake Maria Wilson, is a design firm with a focus on people and their ever-changing needs. As a dynamic practice, the firm believes that a good design simplifies people’s ways of life, while also accommodating their lives’ unique demands.
Illustrated here is a functional design and space that the firm renovated, updated, and expanded. This Southside family home was built by Action Builders and designed by Wilson Architecture + Design. Previously, the homeowners lived in a 1950s split-level home on the lot, but soon they opted to demolish the split-level in favor of building a more functional, contemporary home. The result was a contemporary exterior with an open floor plan. In particular, the dining room windows perfectly frame the view of downtown Pittsburgh. The home also features four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an additional living area, all on the top floor, while the basement houses a garage and office, along with a three-quarter bath and entry hall.
5655 Stanton Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
DeNinno Architects is led by principal Jeffrey DeNinno, an architect with over 25 years of experience in a variety of project types,including residential, commercial interiors, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, transportation, education, and senior living. Much of Jeffrey’s work has been in large-scale senior living communities and education buildings, thanks to nearly ten years of practice with the Pittsburgh office of an international design firm.
Pictured below is an example of the firm’s work on a residential project located north of Pittsburgh, in Adams Township. This private residence was designed for a collector of exotic objects and wildlife art, making the building as much a private museum as it was a house. The exterior was traditionally inspired and derived from eighteenth century French and nineteenth century English Country architecture. The house itself is built using durable materials: brick, rustic sandstone with carved trim, slate roofing, and copper sheet metal. Outside the home, the adjacent spaces are formally designed and paved with herringbone pattern bricks, sandstone borders, and curbing. Surrounding plantings are native species arranged with the topography and selected as understory infill to the mature trees. Lastly, several large bronze sculptures of wildlife were incorporated in the terraces and along the drive.
261 Jefferson Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Devlin Architecture, led by principal Douglas Devlin, AIA, practices architecture, interior design, and master planning, with an expertise in custom residential and multifamily housing and urban planning. The firm’s clients range from commercial and residential developers to nonprofits, private individuals, and corporations. The firm is accustomed to working in a wide variety of physical settings, from rural green fields to dense inner city sites.
The pictured Virginia-style stone farmhouse, with exterior porches and terraces, is perched along a hilltop overlooking open meadows and mountaintops. The home features an eat-in kitchen, formal living and dining rooms and a first floor in-law suite. A three-car garage with a home office above creates an intimate sunken front entry courtyard.
1056 S Negley Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217
MCAI is a firm that offers a range of services from on-site consultations to complete architectural drawings and construction observation. Led by Mary Cerrone, AIA, the firm’s project experience includes private, commercial, and institutional clients and encompasses single and multifamily new construction, renovations, additions, and interiors. Through the integration of architecture and interior design, MCAI provides thoughtful and creative solutions to any project concerns that may arise throughout a build.
Located in Somerset County, this circa 1960 redwood “kit cabin” was selectively dismantled and rebuilt by MCAI. The firm recycled its redwood components, such as trusses, columns, and half-log wall panels, both inside and outside, to come up with a modern, rustic guesthouse with a deck overlooking the lake.
Architect Fred M. Fargotstein
1717 El Paso St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
When architect Fred M. Fargotstein founded his firm in 2004, it was with the desire to work with owners of older homes to preserve their character through well-crafted and stylistically appropriate restorations, renovations, and additions. Today, Fred continues to operate his firm with his three decades of experience and his penchant for generosity, having provided pro bono services for many years to the Design Center of Pittsburgh.
A prime example of the firm’s work is this Point Breeze Exterior Restoration, which was a finalist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2019 Renovation Inspiration Contest. Its homeowners had bought the house over 40 years earlier and raised their family there, but were now seeking an exterior update. The homeowners’ chief concern was turning what had originally been a full-width front porch into something more traditional that would restore the original character and charm of the 1924 Craftsman-style home. The firm worked to restore the front porch in such a way that it virtually replicated the original design and was significantly more compatible to the other homes on the street, nearly all of which share this feature. The homeowners, and even their neighbors, couldn’t have been more delighted with the result.