Monday, November 18, 2013

Revisiting the Cathedral of Learning and the Nationality Classrooms

A couple of Pittsburgh one-of-a-kinds which often fly under the radar of visitors to the city are the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning and the Nationality Classrooms which are housed in this gothic skyscraper.  Located on the University of Pittsburgh campus in the Oakland section of the city, the Cathedral of Learning is the tallest university structure in the world.  It houses administrative offices and classrooms, and offers wonderful views of the city from its upper floors.  The lower lobby is an architectural marvel.  Featuring a variety of study nooks, this space is reminiscent of the great room of a medieval castle.  It's truly jaw dropping, especially when you consider that it's not a museum but a campus building used everyday by Pitt students.  

The Nationality Rooms are located on the fourth floor of the Cathedral.  They have expanded over the years, as different nationalities have sponsored the elaborate classrooms which celebrate their ethnic heritages.  One of the most recent, opened in May 2012, celebrates my family's Swiss heritage, and features a kackeloeffen (a ceramic stove used for interior heat) which is a replica of one of the creations of my ancestor Hans Heinrich Graf of Winterthur, Switzerland, in the 1600's.  Here is a quick story regarding my father, Ed Graf's, contributions to the creation of the kackeloeffen.  

The Cathedral and the Nationality Classrooms are free to enter and tour, and are open to the public during most days during business hours.  Hours and days open may be found here.  

Cathedral of Learning Main Lobby from Third Floor Balcony

Nationality Rooms - Austrian Room

Nationality Rooms - Swiss Room - Kacheloeffen

Nationality Rooms - Swiss Room

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