The Eastwall Mural
copyright © CMU/Douglas Cooper
The University Center Mural

Douglas Cooper, Artist
School of Architecture
Carnegie Mellon University

E-mail Douglas Cooper at

Jonathan Kline, Artist Assistant
John Trivelli, Artist Assistant
Michael Dennis Associates, Architect

back to the University Center Mural

About Douglas Cooper

The Westwall Mural

The Northwall Mural

Forbes Field

How was the mural made?

Frequently asked questions

Cathedral of Learning

Forbes Field


Eastwall Mural

I set the Eastwall Mural in the period 1965-70 because I was a student at Carnegie at the time and because this was the time when Mellon Institute was joined with Carnegie Tech to form Carnegie Mellon University. The view shows Oakland in the foreground and looks across Junction Hollow to the Campus as it appeared in those years.

Prominent in the view are the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning tower, the Carnegie Museum before its recent addition, Forbes Field (the former home of the Pittsburgh Pirates), the Jones and Laughlin Steel Mill and the industry of the Monongahela River valley.

I positioned these larger elements opposite key sight lines to address one of the mural's most difficult visual problems: how might a work that is this large and this detailed remain visually powerful when seen across the great vistas presented by the Rotunda.

For similar reasons, along the length of the view, I used the houses and steep slopes of the foreground hillside as a contrasting foil against the middle ground: the rectangular layout of Oakland below and the opposing bend of the Monongahela River at the site of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Mill.

Furthermore, this neighborhood high above Oakland with its many porches and steep views provided me the opportunity of showing a typical Pittsburgh streetscape.

Oakland Neighborhood