New Honor's Studio

This is the first year for the Honor’s Studio (HAA 1918) in the Design Track of the Architectural Studies Program. The studio is being led by Christopher Guignon (LEED accredited architect at evolveEA and alumnus of our Architectural Studies program) and proposes a sustainable housing complex in the Strip District. Thirteen students are working in 6 teams to devise energy-efficient one and two-bedroom apartments that make up a collaborative housing community. In addition to being environmentally sustainable, the student designs propose “co-housing” as a model of social sustainability that allows residents to share resources and space as a foundation for strong communities and neighborhoods. The site of this project—the Strip District—is a fast-changing part of Pittsburgh, with new condominium construction and a proposed waterfront revitalization project. The students are admirably rising to the challenge of addressing “real-world” problems such as environmental sustainability, affordable housing, and neighborhood redevelopment in their design solutions.


New Design Studio in Thaw Hall

 Fall 2013

Thaw Hall Thaw Hall Thaw Hall

Thaw Hall

The renovated studio space in Thaw Hall signals a major commitment by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences to the expansion of the Architectural Studies program. The studio currently houses 46 desks and accommodates the sequence of three design courses that constitute the backbone of the Design Track – Architectural Studies Seminar (HAA 1913), Design Studio 1 (HAA 1916 – spring) and Design Studio 2 (HAA 1917 – fall). Since the Design Track was formally approved in 2009, the studio sequence has been instrumental in preparing our students for graduate school and careers in architecture and related disciplines.

Originally designed to house the School of Engineering, Thaw Hall is the only surviving building from the ambitious and never completed “Acropolis Plan” developed in 1908-09 when the Western University of Pennsylvania moved to its new Oakland campus from Observatory Hill on the North Side and was transformed into the University of Pittsburgh.

Thaw Hall is the work of the eminent American architect Henry Hornbostel (1867-1961), who studied at Columbia University and at the elite Paris École des Beaux-Arts. His other major works in Pittsburgh include the City-County Building downtown; Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Rodef Shalom Temple, both on Fifth Avenue; and the campus of Carnegie Mellon University (originally Carnegie Technical Schools) where Hornbostel founded the School of Architecture in 1906.


Goodbye to Posvar Hall

By Architectural Studies majors Aubrey Killian and Maeve Sattler

In Spring 2012 the Architectural Studies Program made a transition that excited many of its students. At the end of 2011 rumors began to spread that the upcoming round of design studio classes would be moved from Thaw Hall to a new mystery location. The studio space in Thaw Hall was a cramped, former science laboratory just barely able to accommodate the previous class of Architectural Studies majors. The upcoming class was expected to be much larger, requiring more desks and therefore more space.

At the beginning of January, studio instructor Jozef Petrak sent out a message to students enrolled in Design Studio 1 with directions to room 4171 Posvar Hall for the first class. We arrived to discover a much larger studio space complete with brand new drafting tables, storage shelving, and a small nook area in the corner to house a mini-library. In the following week a light table moved over from Thaw Hall to join the new space and soon pin-up material was installed along the back wall. As we became better acquainted with the layout of Posvar Hall, a convenient passage was discovered between the new studio and the David L. Lawrence Computer Lab. This allows students easy access to the 24-hour lab, crucial to the completion of projects involving computer-aided drafting/design and printing.

Altogether, Posvar Hall is the perfect location for the Architectural Studies Design Studio. In addition to its proximity to the University’s only 24-hour computer lab, the location is more central and accessible for students living on campus. It also provides increased safety in a more populated and guarded area due to the monitored computer lab and keypad security at the studio suite entrance. Clearly the University agreed with student feedback since the program received a second adjacent room with dry erase boards and corkboard panels for the Architectural Studies Seminar class, the introductory-level studio course for the major. The seminar classroom holds close to twenty desks for students to share on class days, along with more pin-up space for presentations. Seminar students can easily access upper-level majors in the nearby Design Studio for questions and advice. Overall, the proximity of design students creates a more collaborative atmosphere for the studio space.

Students and faculty are incredibly grateful for their new facilities and anticipate growth in the Architectural Studies program for the future.

      Studio Space    Student Projects

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Field Trips


Vienna IFTA

Vienna IFTA