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.
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.