University Commons Terrace – Designed by Carlow Art Majors – Wins AIA Certificate of Merit

Carlow University’s fifth floor terrace art project on University Commons – designed by Carlow art majors – wins an AIA Pittsburgh Certificate of Merit.

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Die-cut Aluminum Panels Designed by Carlow Students Depict University’s Heritage, Life

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Overlooking Oakland and the Monongahela River valley, the view from the Fifth Floor Terrace of University Commons on the Carlow University campus has always been impressive. Now, thanks to a collaboration with a local architectural firm and designs that originated with Carlow art or art therapy students, it is also award-winning.

At the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Design Pittsburgh Awards ceremony last week, Carlow’s University Commons Terrace received a Certificate of Merit.  The architect for the project was LGA Partners, and they designed a seven-foot-tall screen wall that alternated glass and perforated aluminum panels encircling the western, southern, and eastern sides of the building’s fifth floor terrace.

While the glass panels preserved the view from the building that sits at the top of the hill and overlooking Oakland, the perforated aluminum panels were designed over the summer of 2018 by Carlow art and art therapy majors Emily Armstrong, Jasmine Cho, Tori Hirsh, Taylor Humes, Katie Krall and Katie Winter – who are now all graduates of the university.  The art project was completed and installed in 2019.  The students designed scenes from the history, mission, and daily life of Carlow University.

The comments from the jury for the AIA awards read: “The Carlow University Commons Terrace railing designe is elevated by the successful collaboration with university art students who capture the spirit of their academic community.”

The students were all excited about having the opportunity to create something of lasting impact on the Carlow campus.

“I am very pleased that AIA has recognized the exceptional design work of my students and their partnership with LGA Partners architects,” said Sarah Jacobs, MFA, assistant professor of art and head of the 2-D art program at Carlow, who taught the summer class that the students took in 2018 in preparation for designing the project.   “It was brave of LGA to trust a group of undergrads to design the imagery for their balcony, but they wisely understood the dedication, professionalism, and ingenuity of Carlow students! Kudos to them and to the creative student artists!”


Editor’s Note:  The link to the award on the AIA Pittsburgh web page can be found here:

About Carlow University

Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1929, Carlow’s curricula and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact.  Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in two colleges:  the College of Health and Wellness and the College of Arts and Sciences.  The College of Health and Wellness includes the departments of Nursing, Respiratory Care, Healthcare Data Analytics, Health Management, and graduate degrees in Speech-Language Pathology and the Physician Assistant programs.  Graduate programs in Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy will soon be added.

Carlow University also believes in the education and growth of students both inside and outside the classroom, where they can join student government, clubs, and academic honorary societies where they can develop skills in judgment, leadership, analysis, decision-making, and communication.  For student-athletes, Carlow’s 14 athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.

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