Sunday, October 24, 2010

Alva Hill ~ Butler Architect



Ralph Burt, Dick Rittelmann, John Kosar and Alva Hill

Alva Hill [right] was the founder founder of the Butler architecture firm, Burt,Hill. He started with the firm in 1952, along with Ralph Burt. Although Burt-Hill is now a multinational firm (and is being acquired later this year by a Canadian firm), the largest office still is in Butler, employing roughly 150 people here.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Hill was an accomplished pilot fighting in World War II flying a P51 Mustang fighter plane. Consequentially, Mr. Hill met Mr. Burt during the war and returned to their hometown of Butler to make architectural history.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

How times have changed for the better! I'm from Butler and wanted to stay in Butler. I was extremely optimistic at getting a position with Burt-Hill, having just obtained my degree in architecture at Carnegie Mellon. Alas I did not fit the "profile" of the 4 white gentlemen in the photograph. I had to head to New York and to the UK where the fact I was female did not matter so much.

Anonymous said...

a degree does NOT always get you in! there are plenty females there. Perhaps you were not right for the job!

Anonymous said...

At the time of this photograph, if you were a person of color and/or a female, a degree from Carnegie Mellon would not have gotten you an architect's job. Times have changed for the better.

Anonymous said...

The picture must have been taken from the Morgan Building on Main Street. Did Burt-Hill build that building?

Anonymous said...

Yep definately the ''Good Ol' Boys'' club

Anonymous said...

They designed the Morgan Building and the ugly redo of Diamond Park. Got rid of the trees and the grass. I guess they didn't learn that parks are to be green space and not just designed to match the building you design for the late Bill Morgan. The park is now a run down, crumbling mess without a plan. They just stick monuments anywhere without any concept of design.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and let us not forget their design of the Intermediate High School. Here they designed a building without windows. This is also the most expensive in the school district to maintain.

Anonymous said...

How about the Capital Theater (Now the Brick House). They tore off the beautiful facade and replaced it with a the very ugly Eat N' Park 70's facade we are all stuck with. If I were not from Butler and were driving through it and saw all the remuddled buildings (many remuddled by Burt, Hill)I wouldn't bother to stop because I would know this is a town that just doesn't get it.

Margo Yoder said...

This group was way ahead with sustainable design. I can remember attending a presentation of some "young" people who worked there in the late 80's and they were talking about how we could generate energy savings... walls insultated with glass bottles, houses buried under the ground using the earth for insulation... a lot of other interesting ideas... too bad this work didn't take off at that time in the way it could have... before we "grew" into some of the problems we are faced with now. I will never forget it; Have been following such issues for years now on the leading edge of design... even the design of the way we think about things because, as we have seen, unless we change those "inner" parts the outer can stagnate into less desired outcomes. All the best!... Margo

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hill has been teaching at Butler Community College. The young people of the community have had a chance to learn from him.

Anonymous said...

Is Mr Hill teaching helmet hair 101

Anonymous said...

yes, they can learn to design some of the ugliest building in Butler. My list includes the Armstrong Building in Bon Aire and the Intermediate High School. My list includes the remuddling of several buildings on Main Street. His firm has no sense of place. Let us not forget the horrible remuddling of the old Capital Theater (Now Brick House)

Anonymous said...

Burt Hill was a fantastic, family-friendly, small-town feeling type company to work for. It was started by a fantastic bunch of guys who treated their employees wonderfully. As is typical in our society, the generation that begins the business must at some point pass the company off to the next generation...unfortunately, the greed of that generation left to run the firm sold out, not only the company, and the founders of the company, but also the employees who gave their heart and soul to the group -- and sold it to a CANADIAN group.

Anonymous said...

Moriarity and his fool friend Gordon drove the business into the ground. My oh my but how Pete loves the sound of his own voice. Too bad, but there were plenty of chances to stop them...it required having a pair of balls and those were in short supply.