Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Visit the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, PA

One of my favorite places to visit (other than PNC Park) in Pittsburgh is the Cathedral of Learning. The Cathedral of Learning is a landmark building with the University of Pittsburgh. It is not an actual cathedral but is a real University building with classrooms and a great views from the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh floors. I've included a picture of this cool building below. It is the tallest building in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood.

University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning
The first floor really looks like a cathedral with its tall, vaulted ceilings and open spaces. You can see a panoramic view (see picture below) of the first floor. There are several tables around the first floor where students can study alone or in groups. Anyone can walk through the building and explore it. You can do this by yourself or in a group. Just pay a visit to the gift shop, and speak to the person on duty. I believe the tour costs money although I'm not sure how much. 

Panoramic view of the Cathedral of Learning's first floor

A very cool thing about the Cathedral of Learning is that it has over thirty classrooms that are modeled after classrooms located in different countries including Great Britain, India, Israel, Germany, France, and so forth. The International Classrooms, as they are called, are located on the first and second floors. Some of the classrooms are open to visitors on different days. I wouldn't expect to see a specific classroom open when you visit the Cathedral of Learning, as different classrooms are chosen at random to be open on different days. However, all of the entrance doors have small view holes, so you can look inside closed classrooms. I've included panoramic views of the Israel and India International Classrooms below.

Panoramic view of the Israel International classroom in the Cathedral of Learning

Panoramic view of the India International classroom in the Cathedral of Learning

As I mentioned above, there are really great views of Pittsburgh from the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh floors. The Cathedral of Learning has forty-one floors, but the highest floor you can access is the thirty-seventh floor. You can reach the thirty-sixth floor either by elevator or by walking up thirty six flights of stairs. The only way to reach the thirty-seventh floor is by an old and rickety elevator that you enter via the thirty-sixth floor. The thirty-sixth floor has a really nice reception area, and you can see many part of Pittsburgh through its windows including Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Museum on Forbes, Phipps Conservatory, downtown Pittsburgh, UPMC Oakland, and the UPMC Children's Hospital in Bloomfield. You can even see the Monongahela River through the south facing windows.

Panoramic view of thirty-sixth floor reception area in the Cathedral of Learning.

Carnegie Mellon University viewed from the Cathedral of Learning

Phipps Conservatory viewed from the Cathedral of Learning
The next time you visit Pittsburgh, or if you live in Pittsburgh and need to take a break from your work and/or studies, I highly recommend that you visit the Cathedral of Learning in your spare time. It is open seven days a week during daylight hours. You will enjoy the International Classrooms and the spectacular views of Pittsburgh from the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh floors. If you're up for some serious exercising, you can walk up thirty six flights of stairs and take a break in the thirty sixth floor reception area.


Jonathan Becker
ECE PhD Candidate
Carnegie Mellon University