Bellefield Hall

Coordinates: 40°26′43.49″N 79°57′3.34″W / 40.4454139°N 79.9509278°W / 40.4454139; -79.9509278
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bellefield Hall
Bellefield Hall at the University of Pittsburgh.
LocationPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Coordinates40°26′43.49″N 79°57′3.34″W / 40.4454139°N 79.9509278°W / 40.4454139; -79.9509278
ArchitectBenno Janssen
Architectural styleItalianate
Part ofSchenley Farms Historic District (ID83002213)
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 22, 1983[2]
Designated PHLF1992[1]
Entrance to Bellefield Hall. The iron work for the lamps was done by Samuel Yellin
The concert hall in Bellefield Hall

Bellefield Hall is a Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmark[3] and is a contributing property to the Schenley Farms Historic District[4][5] on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh across Bellefield Avenue from Heinz Memorial Chapel and the lawn of the university's Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. A 1924 italianate structure by architect Benno Janssen, it originally served as a Young Men's and Women's Hebrew Association, but now houses rehearsal spaces, classrooms, offices, and a Digital Recording Studio for the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Music, as well as a university gymnasium, fitness center, indoor swimming pool, and a 676-seat auditorium.


Bellefield Hall, constructed in 1924, was designed by architect Benno Janssen by combining the facades of the Italianate Palzzo Piccolomini delle Papesse in Siena with the 18th-century Lee House at Stratford in Virginia for the Flemish-bond brick finish and the high basement.[6][7] Samuel Yellin was contracted to create the lanterns for the main entrance.[8] Bellefield Hall was originally home to the Young Men's and Women's Hebrew Association (Y.M.&W.H.A.), whose patrons included Edgar Kauffman and his family, opened in 1926.[9] Originally, the high profile of its attic hid a flat expanse of roof where Y.M.&W.H.A. patrons could sunbathe in total privacy. It also featured full sports facilities, meeting rooms, and a historic concert hall featuring Spanish stalactite ceiling and Jacobean wall moldings in which a host of musicians (including Arthur Rubinstein, Isaac Stern, and Jean-Pierre Rampal) made their Pittsburgh debuts.[8] The late judo great Kyu Ha Kim, Grandmaster Kyu Ha Kim, 10th Degree Black Belt who taught judo at Pitt for decades use to teach judo at the Y.M.&W.H.A. where Pitt Graduate and past US Judo Association President Gary Goltz, started judo in 1966.

Kyu Ha Kim and Gary Goltz at Y.M.&W.H.A. in 1966

The building was obtained by the university in a lease-purchase agreement in 1984 and reverted to the full university ownership ten years later.[10] Today, Bellefield Hall is a 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) facility that is home to a variety of University offices and services. For the University's Department of Music, it houses rehearsal spaces, classrooms, graduate student offices, and the William R. Robinson Digital Recording Studio. A recently renovated 676-seat auditorium holds many of the Department of Music's recitals and concerts.[11][12][13] Bellefield Hall also houses a sports gym, fitness center, and indoor swimming pool.[12] The second floor fitness center was renovated and expanded in 2005.[14][15] A classroom specifically designed for African-drumming music was constructed in 2008.[16] Bellefield Hall is also home to the Collegiate YMCA at the University of Pittsburgh.[17]


Bellefield Hall has hosted a number of notable events throughout its history, including concerts by the aforementioned musicians. In addition, on April 3, 2008, Republican Presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul was invited to speak at the University of Pittsburgh. He was the first 2008 presidential candidate to speak on Pitt campus (the second being Barack Obama) during the 2007-2008 academic year and the only Republican candidate to do so.


  • Alberts, Robert C. (1987). Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh 1787-1987. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-1150-7.
  1. ^ "Internet Archive: Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation: PHLF Plaques & Registries". January 27, 2007. Archived from the original on January 27, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2008.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ see photo
  4. ^ Mann, Christina (February 1982), National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: Schenley Farms Historic District (PDF), Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, archived from the original (PDF) on April 9, 2008, retrieved September 4, 2013
  5. ^ Sajna, Mike (January 23, 1997). "Hearing set on historic landmark nomination for two Pitt buildings". University Times. University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on June 28, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Toker, Franklin (2009). Pittsburgh: A New Portrait. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 332. ISBN 978-0-8229-4371-6.
  7. ^ PHMC Cultural Resources Database
  8. ^ a b Toker, Franklin; Pittsburgh: an urban portrait; 1986, Pennsylvania State University Press, pg. 89
  9. ^ Borish, Linda (1999). "An Interest in Physical Well-Being Among the Feminine Membership": Sporting Activities for Women at Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Associations". American Jewish History. 87 (1): 61–93. doi:10.1353/ajh.1999.0002. S2CID 143380622. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  10. ^ Pellegrini, Mike (October 19, 1984). "Jewish Center Face Lift Part of Pitt Acquisition". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. p. 12. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  11. ^ Steele, Bruce (November 9, 1995). "Capital projects committee urges non-academic use of Bellefield". University Times. University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  12. ^ a b "University of Pittsburgh Virtual Tour: Bellefield Hall". University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on May 20, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  13. ^ "University of Pittsburgh Department of Music: Facilities". University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on August 31, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  14. ^ Hart, Peter (April 28, 2005). "Bellefield exercise facilities to expand". University Times. University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  15. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K. (August 31, 2006). "Bellefield fitness center expanded". University Times. University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  16. ^ Kimberly K. Barlow & Peter Hart, What's New? Places, University Times, Vol 41, No. 1, Aug 28, 2008; University of Pittsburgh, accessdate=2008-28-08 Archived 2010-06-16 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Collegiate YMCA at the University of Pittsburgh". Retrieved June 29, 2009.

External links[edit]

Preceded by University of Pittsburgh Buildings
Bellefield Hall

Constructed: 1924-1926
Succeeded by