In Memoriam: Elmer Burger, AIA

By Posted on January 2, 2020

Surrounded by family, friends, and faith, Elmer Burger, AIA passed away on Sunday, December 22, 2019.

Elmer attended Carnegie Mellon University and received his BFA and BArch from the Rhode Island School of Design. He was employed by several architecture firms in Boston, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh during his career. He retired as the University Architect/Planner of Point Park University in 2018.

Elmer served as President of AIA Pennsylvania in 2008, was previously on the AIA Pittsburgh Board of Directors, was an active member of the Master Builders Association, and was often invited to be a guest critique at Carnegie Mellon University.

His notable works include the Camp Kon-O-Kwee dining hall, PNC First Side, UPMC Hospital Palermo, the Masonic Temple in Pittsburgh, and the Cincinnatian Hotel. As Point Park University Architect, he oversaw the development of the Academic Village, which included the design of the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

He is remembered by his friend Deborah Knox, who worked with him at Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, as “a quintessential bow-tie architect – thoughtful, charming and creative.  From the graceful curve of PNC Firstside Center that pays homage to the river bend, to Point Park’s Green Boulevard, he brought an elegant artistic vision to all of his projects.  His memory will live on in the lives he has touched, and his designs made real around Pittsburgh.”

A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 4th at 11:00 am at Southminster Church, 799 Washington Road, Pittsburgh PA 15228, where a reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (1 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15213), Rhode Island School of Design (2 College Street, Providence RI 02903), or Southminster Presbyterian Church (799 Washington, Pittsburgh PA 15228).

The family thanks the staff of Hillman Cancer Center and Shadyside Hospital for their compassionate care.

Elmer’s kindness, patience, smile, and enthusiasm for all things was well known to his family, friends, and colleagues. Elmer wanted everyone to know that he had a wonderful life. Please add tributes at

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