Parran Hall

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Coordinates: 40°26′34″N 79°57′30″W / 40.442646°N 79.958211°W / 40.442646; -79.958211

Parran Hall is an academic building on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. The building, constructed to house the Graduate School of Public Health, was completed in 1957, and designed by Eggers & Higgins, architects of the Dirksen Senate Office Building,[1] in the International Style[2] with a major addition by Deeter-Ritchey-Sippel and Crump completed in 1967.[3] The school was founded in 1948 with a $13.6 million grant ($138.5 million today) from the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust.[4]

The nine-story building is the primary home of the Graduate School of Public Health. The building encompasses an entire city block bounded by Fifth Avenue, Bouquet, O'Hara, and DeSoto Streets. It contains a 282 seat auditorium, lounge, administrative offices, seminar rooms, classrooms, and faculty offices.[5]

Thomas Parran[edit]

The "Man" sculpture by Virgil Cantini on the facade of Parran Hall.

The building was rennamed in 1969 to honor Thomas Parran, Jr., former Surgeon General of the United States. Following a career as the health commissioner of New York State and three four-year terms as U.S. Surgeon General, Thomas Parran came to Pitt to help establish the Graduate School of Public Health. He was internationally renowned for programs such as one to expose and stamp out syphilis, but led now-reviled experiments that infected black men with diseases including syphilis and left them untreated.[6] He served as dean of the school from 1948 to 1958 and helped develop the University's total medical science program.[7][8]


The bronze and steel sculpture hanging high atop Parran Hall's facade, "Man" by Virgil Cantini, symbolizes the human quest for knowledge, with special reference to international research in the health fields. The dynamic composition shows an outstretched, skeletal figure in bronze surrounded by upward-moving, randomly placed peaks of varying sizes. Close-set circular steel bands unify the piece. The peaks represent the elevation of humanity above the mundane or peaks of progress. The circle represents universality. Originally lighted in front to dramatize the features of the sculpture, the lighting was removed when students began climbing the light and redirecting its rays into Cathedral of Learning classrooms or residence hall rooms.[9][10]

Crabtree Hall[edit]

Crabtree Hall

Crabtree Hall is an annex to the rear of Parran Hall. It was designed by the architectural firm of Deeter, Ritchey, and Sippel[11] and completed in 1969 and dedicated to James A. Crabtree, head of the Department of Public Health Practice and later Dean from 1958 until 1966.[12]


A major addition, renovation and infrastructure upgrade for Parran and Crabtree halls was designed in 2010.[13] A 57,000-square-foot (5,300 m2), five-story addition was built over the auditorium of Parran Hall in order to expand the research facilities of the Graduate School of Public Health.[14]

Parran Hall prior to the 2013 addition

Demolition for $32 million project, which was designed by Renaissance 3 Architects and Wilson Architects, began in summer 2011. New steel began to go up over the winter of 2012 for the lab pavilion addition where the G23 auditorium was located. Completed in 2013, the pavilion added research labs, a 215-seat auditorium, centralized freezer storage, and faculty and staff lounge/kitchen space on each floor while tying into the existing Parran Hall at the second through fourth floors. A second phase of renovations targeted for 2016 will update 13,000-square-foot (1,200 m2) of Parran Hall and Crabtree Hall.[15][14]


Dr. Thomas Parran was a U.S. Surgeon General for 12 years and the Graduate School of Public Health's first dean.
  1. ^ "Emporius: Eggers & Higgins". Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  2. ^ University of Pittsburgh Facilities Management Division; MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni, Inc. (2010-01-29), Proposed Institutional Master Plan Update University of Pittsburgh (Final Draft) (PDF), University of Pittsburgh, p. 41, retrieved 2011-01-23 
  3. ^ "Emporis Building Number 240363". Pittsburgh /: Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  4. ^ Tour of Pitt Archived June 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ About the Graduate School of Public Health Archived September 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Alberts, Robert C. Pitt: the story of the University of Pittsburgh". University of Pittsburgh Press. 1986. p. 205. Retrieved 2012-10-23 – via 
  8. ^ "Pitt Fact Book 1974". Retrieved 2012-10-23 – via 
  9. ^ About the School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh Archived June 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Slattery, Holden (2007-10-26). "Cantini's art beautifies Pitt". The Pitt News. Originally, there was a heavy light in front of the sculpture to dramatize its features, but when students began climbing the light and redirecting its rays into Cathedral classrooms or dorm rooms, it was removed, Cantini said. 
  11. ^ "CMU architectural archive". Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  12. ^ Bulletins, University of Pittsburgh Archived September 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K. (2010-01-07). "Trustees approve capital budget". University Times. 42 (9). Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  14. ^ a b Barlow, Kimberly K.; Levine, Marty (August 29, 2013). "What's New at Pitt: Places". University Times. 46 (1). Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Building and Renovation Project Overview". University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Clapp Hall
University of Pittsburgh Buildings
Parran Hall

Constructed: 1957
Succeeded by
Langley Hall