For the benefit of anyone who forgot Monday’s post and those who didn’t read it, The Cathedral of Learning is the signature educational building on the University of Pittsburgh campus. I’m going to abbreviate the university down to Pitt and I’m going to refer to Cathy, as the Cathedral was affectionately known.
If you were here on Monday, you may not have noticed, but I was pretty careful not to include door photos in the gallery. I wanted to circle back to Cathy today, for Thursday Doors. I’m going to be staying in the Commons area, a.k.a. The first three floors, because that’s where the doors are interesting. Once you start moving to the upper floors, Cathy begins to look like any other university building that was built about 100 years ago. The Commons Room, called one of the “great architectural fantasies of the twentieth century”, is a fifteenth-century English perpendicular Gothic-style hall that covers half an acre (2,000 m2) and is 52 feet (16 m) tall. The room was a gift of Andrew Mellon. It’s nice to have friends.
One last little detail to get out of the way, if you’re not familiar with Thursday Doors – What? Have you been living under a rock? No, seriously, Thursday Doors is a weekly blog-share-thingie orchestrated by Norm Frampton. Each week, people from around the world share door photos, drawings, descriptions and possibly, memories of doors gone by. It all starts at Norm’s place. Once there, read his post, look at his doors and then look for the blue frog. Click on that little guy to add your door or to see all the other doors. It’s like magic.
Pitt is an urban campus which means it’s always busy. Cathy is always busy because it’s a great place to study, it has a food court in the basement, people might be touring the Nationality Rooms, there are over 40 floors of classrooms, and the guides never miss a chance to show off this magnificent structure to students and parents on a campus visit. If you’re a door guy/gal, you know what this means – you have to wait to get a door photo and you might have to settle for people in the picture. That’s OK. Pitt is a lively place and people prove that.
There were two tour groups crawling through Commons the day Faith and I were there. We waited, patiently, for our time, and we got some great photos. I also took some photos of the Nationality Rooms doors that were open. If you buy the tour, they give you a key. We did that in 2009, but that was before I knew I was supposed to be taking pictures of the doors. I will be featuring some of the Nationality Rooms in 2017…at least the ones where I have door photos.
Before we get to the gallery, I just want to point out one more thing about The Cathedral. In the pictures that include people, you might notice that they seem like they feel at home. I can say from experience, they do. The Commons felt like our living room. It has always been a student space. Students are always welcome and there are plenty of accommodations to facilitate study and discussion. If you’re thinking “wow, it must get pretty loud in there” you might be surprised. According to, brace yourself, Wikipedia:
“Despite its heavy use, the Commons Room is kept quiet by the use of Guastavino acoustical tiles as the stones between the ribs of vaulting.”
I can’t comment on the construction, but I know that the Commons is almost always quiet.
As always, thanks for stopping by No Facilities and thanks to Norm for making Thursday Doors a thing for those of us that love looking at doors.
Note: the gallery some doors from the Carnegie Library. There are many beautiful buildings in the area of the Cathedral, but I plan to feature some of them independently.