Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Old Engineering Hall, Oakland

Old Engineering Hall

Old Engineering Hall at the University of Pittsburgh is a fairly successful marriage of modernism and classicism. It is almost postmodern avant la lettre, with classically inspired details but a shape that owes nothing to the classical world. It was built in 1955, when it was still common for modernist buildings to apologize for themselves by including a few dentils and a suggestion of a Greek-key frieze. This was Engineering Hall for only about fifteen years; the School of Engineering moved out in 1971 (into the uncompromisingly modern Benedum Hall), and since then this building has been put to such miscellaneous uses that the university has never been able to come up with a better name for it than “that building that used to be Engineering Hall.”

Old Engineering Hall

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