Tag: Duquesne University

  • Old Main, Duquesne University

    Old Main, Duquesne University
    Fujifilm FinePix HS10.

    Built in 1885 from a design by William Kauffman, this was an astonishingly lofty building when it went up—our first skyscraper college. Its position up on the bluff gave it spectacular views, at least when the smoke from the city below was not too dense, from the cupola that used to stand at the peak of the roof.

    We also have a picture of the building as it was built, along with a modern picture from the same angle.

  • Old Main, Duquesne University, Today and in 1888

    Old Main today
    Old Main in 1888

    A comparison shows that Old Main has gradually been un-Victorianized over the years, losing chimneys and a cupola. The building is still an elegant and commanding presence on campus, though inside there is nothing left on the main floor to indicate that it was built before the twenty-first century. It has been old Pa Pitt’s observation that Catholic universities tend to treat old buildings as embarrassments rather than assets.

  • Canevin Hall, Duquesne University

    Canevin Hall

    A Tudor Gothic building that fits well with Old Main and the chapel across the street. The cornerstone was laid in 1922 by Archbishop Canevin himself (Pittsburgh was not an archdiocese, but Canevin was titular Archbishop of Pelusium).

    Side entrance

    Like many Pittsburgh buildings, Canevin Hall has more than one ground floor.

    Side entrance closer up
    Corner view
  • College Hall, Duquesne University

    College Hall

    College Hall was built in 1970, two years after Mellon Hall across the way, and we notice that the architect (whose name old Pa Pitt was not immediately able to find) took the idea of stilts from Mies Van der Rohe and applied it to an otherwise very different style of modernism. Although every element is indubitably twentieth-century, the whole effect gives us the impression of a classical temple. The interior is drab and utilitarian, but the exterior has a restrained dignity that is very attractive.

    College Hall
  • Laval House, Duquesne University

    Laval house, front

    Duquesne University has overrun many blocks that were once crowded Bluff streets. The Academic Walk follows the course of what used to be Vickroy Street, and by almost random chance two Bluff rowhouses have been preserved in beautiful condition by the Spiritan Campus Ministry. In fact, on Google Maps we find that their address is still 952 Vickroy Street, even though they are the only remaining trace of Vickroy Street. In the 1800s, their neighbor used to be a brickyard, so the neighborhood has improved since they were built.

    A mural on the side.
  • Bell Tower, Duquesne University Chapel

    This cupola on top of the chapel still has a working bell, never replaced by loudspeakers. That is an unusual thing in Pittsburgh.

  • Mellon Hall, Duquesne University

    Richard King Mellon Hall of Science

    The Richard King Mellon Hall of Science was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and is therefore a black box on stilts. Old Pa Pitt sometimes makes fun of Mies’ black boxes on stilts, but he means it good-naturedly. The colonnades of stilts have a job, and they do it well. They humanize some inhumanly large buildings by creating a human-sized interface between building and street. They also create an expansive outdoor space that is out of the rain and snow, but still open to the world. Here we see a good use of that space, with tables being set up for graduation festivities.

    In the colonnade
    Among the stilts
  • Old Main, Duquesne University

    Old Main, Duquesne University

    The idea of a skyscraper university did not originate with Pitt: in 1885, this building—a supertall by 1885 standards—put all of Holy Ghost College under one roof. The architect was William Kaufman, and the building cost the enormous sum of $150,000. The roof originally had a cupola, which must have had amazing views of the city when the smoke parted for a while.

    The building shortly after it was built, from Allegheny County Centennial, 1888.

  • Mellon Hall, Duquesne University

    Mellon Hall

    It is surprising to discover, considering how many of his buildings sprouted in other cities, that this is the only building by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Pittsburgh. (The IBM Building in Allegheny Center was by his architectural firm, but the design was actually by one of his minions in his Chicago office.) It is an unusually long and low building by his standards, but it is otherwise a typical Miesian black box on stilts. Here we see it from across the river with a long lens.

    Mellon Hall
  • South Side, Bluff, and Lower Hill

    A view from the South Side Slopes. Below, a closer look at part of Duquesne University and Mercy Hospital on the Bluff.