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UNIVERSITY OF PITT
COMMONS ROOM
The main part of the Cathedral's first floor is the Commons Room, called one of the "great architectural fantasies of the
twentieth century", is a fifteenth-century English perpendicular Gothic-style hall that covers half an acre and extends
upwards four stories, reaching 52 feet tall. The room was a gift of Andrew Mellon. It is a piece of true Gothic architecture;
no steel supports were used in the construction of its arches. Each arch is a true arch, and they support their own
weight. Each base for the arches weighs five tons, and it is said that they are so firmly placed that each could hold a large
truck. The large central piers act only as screens for the structural steel that holds up the upper floors of the building.
Despite its heavy use, the Commons Room is kept quiet by the use of Guastavino acoustical tiles as the stones between
the ribs of vaulting.

This perfection was insisted upon by Chancellor Bowman. The architect, Klauder, objected due to the increased costs of
this construction method. Bowman responded with the comment: "You cannot build a great University with fraud in it."

Joseph Gattoni designed the stonework, much of which depicts western Pennsylvanian plant life.
The walls are made of Indiana limestone and the floor is green Vermont slate.
The wrought iron in the room, including the large gates leading to the elevators, was a gift from George Hubbard Clapp
and were designed by the ironworker Samuel Yellin. Over the gates are two lines from an untitled poem by Robert Bridges:
"Here is eternal spring; for you the very stars of heaven are new."
Also located in the corridors surrounding the Commons Room are plaques featuring calligraphy designed and
hand-cut in slate by Edward Catich, including one featuring a poem by Lawrence Lee titled "The Cathedral,"
as well as stained glass windows by Charles Connick.

During finals in the winter, fires in the enormous fireplace are lit, to promote a comforting and pleasant atmosphere
for the dozens of students typically found studying into the late hours.
The wrought iron in the room, including the large gates leading to the elevators, was a gift from George Hubbard Clapp
and were designed by the ironworker Samuel Yellin. Over the gates are two lines from an untitled poem by Robert Bridges:
"Here is eternal spring; for you the very stars of heaven are new."