The University of Pittsburgh has a long history of honoring cultures that settled in Allegheny County thanks to Dr. John Bowman, the university chancellor at the end of World War I. Dr. Bowman aspired to give students the opportunity to learn in culturally-significant classrooms, which would highlight the many nationalities that comprised the county, and that was done in the form of the Nationality Room Collection.
With the help of his program director, Dr. Ruth Mitchell, Dr. Bowman collected community members of varying ethnicities to help design cultural classrooms that celebrated their heritage. His and Dr. Mitchell’s efforts have enriched the university’s environment for generations of students.
As of 2019, the university has 30 Nationality Rooms total. Not only do the rooms pay homage to the county’s rich cultural fabric, but they also attract tourism, bringing in an average of 30,000 visitors annually.
ms consultants, inc. assisted the university in growing its collection with an additional classroom. ms has been assigned the job of designing a 750-square-foot classroom that will gracefully combine iconic Iranian concepts with modern classroom technology. The team is working with the Iranian Room Committee and the university to create a historically accurate room that depicts a period from or before 1787, the year the university was founded. The classroom will be on the third floor of the Cathedral of Learning building.
To make the space authentic, ms will be working with stained glass, woodworking, plaster, and tile artisans. A key objective of the project is to find the right balance between the artisan’s vision, the overall room concept, and the university-defined design requirements.
As the lead architect, ms is coordinating with Ardelan Associates, who has provided the conceptual design. ms assisted in the production of professional renderings depicting the schematic design which was completed early in 2018 and will be providing construction documentation and administration for the remainder of the project.