Duquesne University opened in 1878 as the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost, occupying this site on the Bluff overlooking the Monongahela River. In the 1960s, Duquesne erected two notable buildings of complementary but different appearance on opposite sides of Vickroy Street: the Student Union (see AL119) and Richard King Mellon Hall of Science. Architect Paul Schweikher, an old Chicago friend of Mies van der Rohe, secured the Mellon Hall of Science commission for him. It stands opposite Schweikher's Student Union, close to the bluff of the Monongahela River. The rectangular four-story structure gives the impression of a horizontally oriented version of Mies's much-admired Seagram Building in New York City. It is based on a twenty-eight-foot module of bronze heat-absorbing glass that, on the upper three floors, is subdivided by thin steel mullions and black graphite-painted steel panels. The buff brick and glass first floor is recessed under the upper stories. Mellon Hall is visually adequate on the Bluff, but its power is best revealed when it is viewed from across the river on the slopes of South Side—another manifestation of Pittsburgh's abiding Acropolis complex.
The university recently expanded across Forbes Avenue into a new eight-story, Silver LEED-awarded recreation complex called Power Center (2006–2008, DRS Architects).