Cathedral Of Learning

The Cathedral of Learning is a 42-story Late Gothic Revival cathedral located in the city of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, USA. It stands as the centerpiece for the main campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Despite being called a cathedral, this building is not built to be a house of religious worship. It was primarily built as an educational building.

Cathedral Of Learning History

The Cathedral of Learning was envisioned by John Gabbert Bowman, who became the tenth chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh in 1921. He sought for building a structure that would stand as the symbol of education for the city aside from providing some much needed educational space for the University. The construction for the building was started in 1926. It was completed and officially dedicated in June of 1937.

Cathedral Of Learning Profile

The Cathedral of Learning stands 535 feet or 163 meters tall. It contains a total of 42 stories and is designed following a Late Gothic Revival architectural style. The building was designed by Philadelphian architect Charles Klauder, one of the foremost Gothic architects during that time.

The Cathedral is considered to be the tallest educational building in the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered to be the second tallest university building in the world behind the Moscow State University main building. When construction for the building started, it was considered to be the tallest building in the city of Pittsburgh. But while still under construction, it was overtaken by the Gulf Tower for the distinction when it was completed in 1932.

Cathedral Of Learning Features

The Cathedral of Learning is built with a steel frame structure that is overlaid with Indiana limestone for its exterior. A majority of the floors are being used for educational purposes. The basement up to the 36th floor house the university’s classrooms, departmental offices, computer laboratories and other educational spaces.

Commons Room

The lobby of the building comprises the space from the first through the third floor which is called as the Commons Room. This area is build and designed to be a Gothic-style hall that covers half an acre or around 2,000 square meters. It was built initially to be a general study area as well as a venue for special events. Surrounded by 3 floors of classrooms, the Commons Room is a piece of true Gothic architecture. The intricate arches inside were constructed with no steel supports. Each arch is a true arch and support their own weights. The steel structure of the Cathedral was built to hold up only the upper floors of the building.

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