Pittsburgh Railing

As I described in the main posting about our house renovations, we decided to open up part of one floor to create a 20' loft space above our living room. My office/workshop lies on the floor above, and so a large railing was needed. Given its visual prominence, we wanted something really unique, and so Amy and I fabricated our own railing.

We decided on a Pittsburgh theme, with rivers, bridges, notable buildings and neighborhood styles represented. For example, Oakland is represented by the Gates Building, Randy Pausch Bridge, Hamerschlag Hall, Craig Street and the Cathedral of Learning. The South Side has its tightly packed row houses, the South Shore its flat-roofed light industrial buildings, and Downtown its skyscrapers. All of the bridges are roughly in their correct locations, with some artistic liberties taken.

All of the steel came from Metal Supermarket and we welded it together at CMU over the course of three weekends. At TechShop, we finished and sealed the surface with an oil-rubbed bronze powder coat. It consists of four individual panels, each roughly 4' wide, which screw to the floor and walls, and bolt to a contiguous wooden handrail which is stained ebony. Its surprisingly sturdy and meets all building codes.

© Chris Harrison