Carnegie Mellon’s Donner House

Pittsburgh, PA – DRS Architects: Carnegie Mellon’s Donner House.

Carnegie Mellon’s Donner House was recently covered by Architect Magazine. On architecture critic Aaron Betsky’s recent trip to Pittsburgh, he explored the CMU campus and rediscovered a midcentury modern “gem” tucked away in a corner of the campus. This gem was designed by Mitchell & Ritchey and erected between 1952 and 1954. Mitchell & Richey then became Deeter Ritchey Sippel which in turn became DRS Architects.

Unfortunately Aaron Betsky assumed that Mitchell & Ritchey had closed after this building was finished, but he was mistaken. Please read our response to him below…

Click  here to read the full article.

“Mr. Betsky:
We read your recent article “Carnegie Mellon’s Donner House and How to Build the Future” with great interest and delight. We do, however, take issue with one parenthetical statement you offer regarding the architects of Donner Hall.

I am pleased to tell you that contrary to your assertion, Mitchell & Ritchey Architects was not a firm that “disbanded shortly after the building was completed” but thrived in the years after Donner Hall was completed, creating many of Pittsburgh’s most notable civic, academic and institutional structures. Mitchell & Richey became Deeter Ritchey Sippel which in turn became DRS Architects. We are a firm with a proud sixty-year history of architecture and urbanism. Our senior leadership includes designers with careers that individually span over fifty years with the firm, so our spiritual connection to the design ethos that conceived Donner Hall is quite tangible. Indeed, our practice continues to quietly extend our built legacy based on our founders’ sound principles of responsible urbanism, clear formal expression and durable materiality.

Therefore, I am pleased to inform you that the inspirational ember of Mitchell & Ritchey’s “ideals” has not gone out and will continue to motivate DRS Architects into the future. Enclosed please find a few examples of our work since 1954! Cheers!”
–Paul Cali, AIA, Principal