It Doesn’t Get Any Higher Than This: “Topped Out” at 2500 Smallman

Despite the brutal temperatures and generous snow, 2500 Smallman has reached an important, international milestone in the construction trade: the final beam will soon be placed at the top of the structure, rendering the outer framework complete. After years of planning, design, and execution, it's time to celebrate the second largest milestone since the property's groundbreaking.

Reaching the apex of a building, home, or church is a globally-recognized moment in the building industry that has always held meaning for cultures since simple timber framing began. Scandinavians originally placed a tree atop a new building's frame to placate the tree spirits, whose lumber they used for construction and whose trees were displaced in the process. England, Northern Europe, and America soon adopted the once religious rite for their own building purposes, and we call this ceremony "topping out."

There are a multitude of markers to signify the celebration: historically, it was a tree, but a leafy branch, streamers, and flags can also be placed. Topping out parties are joyful occasions where workers and those involved in the project share a toast, and in some cultures, a meal.

As a regionally-specific luxury lifestyle project, Pittsburgh could take a unique spin on the topping out of 2500 Smallman. It's at the confluence of trade and business in the gilded age, it's at the foothills of the current cultural district, and it's in a city well known for its undying loyalty to its three professional sports teams, all of which share the same team colors. Perhaps a tree, an American flag, and black and gold streamers are in order?

In the UK, Germany, Austria, much of Eastern Europe and America, the last beam of a building is whitewashed so that it may be signed by the construction workers who participated. The Dutch "pannenbier" is a celebration where workers erect a flag at the top of the highest beam, only to be removed when they are served beer by the building’' owner.

No word as of right now regarding the type of beer the workers at 2500 Smallman will be demanding, but it will undoubtedly be well deserved.

Take a look at 2500 Smallman from a bird's eye view! Follow the drone in the video below to get a greater look at how this premier project is enhancing the cityscape of Pittsburgh.

http://vimeo.com/120723633