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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

University of Pittsburgh, Big Idea Center Celebrates Grand Opening

In its new home, the Big Idea Center will provide a dedicated space for student entrepreneurship in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Innovation District.

“This is more than a building – it is a point of incredible pride for the University of Pittsburgh that directly supports students in the important work of elevating their ideas for society’s gain.”
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher

University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) faculty, students, and friends gathered on September 16th to celebrate the opening of the new Big Idea Center, strategically located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Innovation District in the Oakland neighborhood. Part of Pitt’s Innovation Institute, the Big Idea Center was established in 2018 to help students grow entrepreneurial skills. Working with the University on a modern new space, we created a dynamic entrepreneurship incubator and accelerator, where students can gather and evolve new ideas and concepts regardless of discipline or career aspiration.

The design takes advantage of the large existing windows to bring natural light deep into the interior and create a prominent beacon for entrepreneurship on Pitt’s campus. In re-envisioning the 7,000 square-foot space from its former life as a bookstore, we created a flexible floor plan with a variety of meeting and collaborative areas, co-located with a student-run café, Saxby’s. The main lobby is designed as a public gathering space for passersby to visit the café or request more information on the Center’s programs. The lower level provides private space for Pitt students to have an authentic entrepreneurial incubator experience. Multiple gathering spaces, from formal to informal and small to large, provide space for creative individuals to converse and bring their visions to life.