I walked into an office on the 30th floor of the Cathedral of Learning Wednesday and asked the receptionist if there was anything interesting on the floor that might make for a good picture.
“No,” she said, laughing.
She was right, the 30th floor is probably the most boring floor in the 42-story structure. But even on floors of the building dominated by cubicles and fluorescent lights, the building’s character and personality is abundant.
In an effort to find and document that character, I traversed the building a few times this past week — from the basement to the highest accessible floor, the 36th. From vintage computers to religious comics, there are different sides of the building than just the nationality rooms and Gothic architecture.
Let’s start from the bottom.
Basement- Below the Cathedral Cafe and Cathedral Coffee is the Pitt Stages scene shop, where students and staff build the sets for upcoming plays.
Ground- Students grab coffee at Cathedral Coffee before class in the morning.
First floor- Chancellor Patrick Gallagher walks down a first-floor hallway.
Second floor- A student catches a nap on a bench by the women’s bathroom.
Third floor- A night class looks out onto the courtyard.
Fourth floor- Signs supporting the faculty and graduate student union sit on a window overlooking the roof.
Fifth floor- An empty conference room on the fifth floor, which houses the English department.
Sixth floor- A class is held in the Humanities Center Tuesday evening.
Seventh floor- This IBM 360 was one of first computers at Pitt.
Eighth floor- A map in the history and philosophy of science department’s office.
Ninth floor- Extra promo signs sit on the Dietrich School’s floor.
A huge window on the 10th floor fills this office with bright natural light.
11th floor- One of two floors currently closed for construction.
12th floor- The Braun room features furniture donated by A. E. Braun.
13th floor- A bookcase sits ready to be picked up by property surplus.
14th floor- An office in the communication offices sits temporarily vacant.
15th floor- A student studies in the classics department.
16th floor- An array of chairs sit in a classroom on the theatre department’s floor.
17th floor- The other floor under construction.
18th floor- These benches were the most exciting thing on the floor.
19th floor- As far as I found, this is the only bathroom door like this in the entire building.
20th floor- This stretch of floors has little to offer, but these lights are sort of interesting I guess.
21st floor- The faculty lounge in the School of Social work has a pretty nice view.
22nd floor- You can walk through the shutters into a snug room at this window.
23rd floor- Students in two classrooms listen to lectures.
24th floor- All the doors on this floor were locked but this light illuminates the elevator lobby.
25th floor- Pitt’s Cyber Institute of Law and Politics features frosted windows and locked doors.
27th floor- Plants soak up natural light and a great view of campus.
28th floor- An office door in the linguistics department.
29th floor- The ROTC’s floor is locked but you can see this through the window.
30th floor- As the receptionist said, this floor is boring.
31st floor- Many of the upper floors have these intricately designed windows.
32nd floor- Pitt Program Council put these by every elevator on the floor before their homecoming laser and fireworks show.
33rd floor- Someone told me they like “looking at the crane,” but it wasn’t doing anything when I saw it.
34th floor- This tucked-away window on the 34th floor is not the place you’d expect to find a hot dog.
35th floor- Students study in the University Honors College as they enjoy a great view.
36th floor- This is the highest floor open to the public and offers a great perspective of Oakland.
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