Dark to Light

Strada, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, orchestrated a remarkable transformation of once dark, dated, and inaccessible spaces within a Brutalist architectural structure.

Our cross-disciplinary approach, integrating planning, architecture, engineering, acoustics, and interior design, delivered state-of-the-art active learning environments that redefine the student experience. The project involved replacing three large, inaccessible lecture halls and their mechanical systems. The Brutalist structure, characterized by tiered-floor seating, a concrete waffle slab ceiling with no exterior windows, and dim lighting, was completely reimagined. Through a deep dive into the space, mechanical rooms, and user needs, Strada’s design solution exceeded the Registrar’s expectations.

The new active learning spaces and study rooms now serve as inspirational hubs, supporting innovative teaching practices. Moveable furniture, swiveling fixed seating, and tiered tables and chairs provide for flexible and collaborative learning activities. Large new window walls at the exterior infuse the spaces with natural light and exterior views while activating the adjacent quadrangle. Relocating mechanical systems below the new classrooms optimized space usage, and provided additional areas for study rooms that were needed but not part of the program.

The acoustic performance of the space was also critical. Being designed to function without voice amplification or sound systems was an added bonus.  The new spaces are universally accessible.

The classroom renovations have been a great success, the only problem is everyone wants to use them, and we have to disappoint a lot of faculty.

Associate Registrar University of Pittsburgh