Inside the making of The Tower at PNC Plaza, Downtown Pittsburgh's newest skyscraper

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The Tower at PNC Plaza, a 33-story office building project at the corner of Wood Street and Fifth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh, hit a milestone last week: Workers installed the final steel beam for what will become the new global headquarters for PNC Financial Services Group. The building’s construction, which began in 2012 and is scheduled to finish by fall of 2015, will employ a total of 2,500 people, with up to 500 working at any given time.

It’s anyone’s guess whether the hundreds of white collar workers who will eventually take their desks inside will give much thought to how their new workday home, which PNC calls the “greenest office tower,” was put together.

Tapping away at keyboards or punching phone numbers inside, they’ll be surrounded by thousands of tons of beams and look out through hundreds of huge glass windows that help cycle heat in and out to regulate temperature. Harder to visualize are the precise calculations that went into determining how much that steel skeleton would compress as floors and weight were added, the feats of skill and teamwork employed to drop the pre-fabricated windows weighing hundreds of pounds each into place and the minor miracle of scheduling and trucking that delivered the innumerable individual pieces of the tower to a congested Downtown job site every day, among myriad details.

Post-Gazette staff writer Robert Zullo and photographer Michael Henninger spent weeks detailing the construction of the building so far. Here’‍s what they have seen.

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