The Cathedral of Learning
Backstory and Context
Realizing that the university would be in need of space in the future, Chancellor Bowman decided to hire Philadelphia architect, Charles Klauder, to design a building that melded Gothic architecture with a modern skyscraper design. Bowman then acquired the 14-acre plot of land known as Frick Acres on which to place Klauder's building.
Construction began in earnest in 1926, but was delayed by the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. When the building was finally dedicated in 1937 it soared over 500 feet above nearby Forbes Field and the rest of the Oakland neighborhood. Perhaps the Cathedral's most impressive space is its 1/2-acre, four-story commons room that is wholly supported by a series of Gothic arches.
The Cathedral now houses a theater, food court, various study lounges and 30 nationality rooms, 28 of which are working classrooms. These nationality rooms represent the various cultures that have had a significant influence on the growth and development of Pittsburgh. Each one was designed as a typical classroom, from a given culture would have looked in 1787, the year the university was founded. Nationalities represented include Chinese, Turkish, Polish, African Heritage, and Indian among others.