Software Engineering Institute

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Software Engineering Institute is a federally funded research and development center established and operated by Carnegie Mellon University. Its objective is to increase the quality and to decrease the cost of software by improving the program development process. SEI, however, recognizes a fundamental academic principle: that the major generators of ideas are people. The design challenge, therefore, was to create an environment capable of supporting intense intellectual activity and extraordinary security measures, while still nurturing the University's traditional "human" commitment to education and to academic freedom.

Demanding design conditions were also posed by the building site. Located on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh, it is situated in the midst of several major civic monuments: Mellon Institute and the neo-Gothic St. Paul's Cathedral are SEI's immediate neighbors. With its five floors, 150,000 square feet and 400-car parking garage, the facility is similarly monumental in scale. The main entrance, at the building's east end, is a pavilion, axial with St. Paul's across the street. Special facilities in the building include an exhibit hall, board room, conference and seminar rooms, and a large auditorium and a hospitality suite. The software laboratory areas, constituting the majority of the building, accommodate dense and virtually unlimited computer hardware configurations.

The project was a joint venture of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Burt Hill.


1990 Honor Award
VII Bienal de Arquitectura de Quito
1990 National Honor Award
American Institute of Architects
1989 Tucker Award for Design Excellence
Building Stone Institute
1988 Silver Medal for Design Excellence
Pennsylvania Society of Architects
1988 Honor Award
AIA Pittsburgh
1988 Honor Award
American School & University Magazine, Architectural Portfolio Awards
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Client: Other projects for Carnegie Mellon University