Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Woodland Road Estates

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Institution Name: Chatham College
Original/Historic Place Name: Woodland Road Estates
Location on Campus: campus neighborhood
Date(s) of Construction:
1850original construction Mellon & Laughlin
Designer: Mellon & Laughlin
Type of Place: Building group
Style: Other, Modern/post-WWII, Postmodern (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1850-present (2006)other (meeting rooms)
1850-present (2006)administration
1850-present (2006)residence hall

Woodland Road, which climbs Murray Hill through a wooded ravine, forms the spine of the campus. The area was developed between 1850 and 1920 by leaders of Pittsburgh's steel, oil, and aluminum industries, notably the Mellon, Laughlin Berry, Rea and Howe families. The houses built by these families now form a substantial portion of Chatham's physical plant, their adaptive uses including dormitories, offices, and meeting rooms. Chatham's Woodland Road mansions constitute a veritable museum of architecture of the past century and a half. Adjoining the campus on Woodland Road and interspersed with older mansions are houses by such important modern architects as Gropius and Breur, Venturi, and Scott Brown Meier. The landscapes of most Woodland Road houses, including the college's, are distinguished by their informality and lack of boundary fences or plantings. This informality serves to increase the apparent extent of the landscape and enhance rural and picturesque quality.


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Last update: November 2006