Photo by Bill O'Toole

The Lawrenceville building boom continues with five new and distinctly modern townhouses on 38th Street in the bustling and trendy East End neighborhood.

The project is known as Lola 38th, furthering cementing Lola as the contracted nickname for “Lower Lawrenceville.” Final detailing and masonry work is being completed by Senko Construction and the houses are already on the market starting at $740,000.

These homes hit the market amid growing concerns about the rapid pace of gentrification in several pockets of Pittsburgh’s East End.

“It’s great to see housing growth in the neighborhood. But one of the challenges is preserving a neighborhood that’s for everyone,” says Lawrenceville United’s Executive Director Dave Breingan. “We’ve created hundreds of new units of housing in the neighborhood. At the same time, the lower- and middle-income residents who helped make Lawrenceville into a nice place to live, have been priced out and displaced.”

View from a third-floor enclosed balcony. Photo courtesy of Albert Anthony Real Estate.

The new quintet of homes was designed by the Garfield-based mossArchitects to maximize natural light and scenic views of the nearby Lawrenceville business district. Each of the five homes features an enclosed balcony on the third floor.

The homes are unique in that they are situated on top of a small hill on the edge of Butler Street, allowing them a measure of space that is rare even among local, high-end developments.

“While most of Lawrenceville is rowhouses packed pretty tightly together, these homes are more unique,” says Andrew Moss, founder of mossArchitects. “They’re perched on a hill.”

In addition to personal space for future tenants, the fivesome’s location — slightly removed from the rest of the block — provided the designers with space to experiment with the building’s facade.

While the team wanted to avoid the red-brick style common to so many of the neighborhood’s historic buildings, they “wanted to do something distinctive to Pittsburgh,” says Moss. To that end, they designed the townhomes with artfully rusted metal enclosing the third-floor deck on each property.

Speaking to NEXTpittsburgh this week, Moss said that he and his team were excited by the opportunity to bring a new kind of modernist style to the neighborhood while still respecting Lawrenceville’s “funky design context.”

The units range from 2,400  to 2,700 square feet and feature three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, as well as parking in the rear of the building.

The townhomes join other high-end home developments in the area that are either under construction or recently opened, such as the Mews on Butler, Hatfield Row and the TRYP hotel on 40th Street.

Bill O'Toole

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.