Chatham News

Chatham Dedicates The Esther Barazzone Center at Eden Hall

PITTSBURGH, PA:  Chatham University has announced the completion of the first phase of construction of its Eden Hall Campus, and celebrated this milestone on Thursday, April 28, 2016 with the official grand opening and dedication of the new Esther Barazzone Center, which has been named in honor of Chatham’s retiring President, Dr. Esther Barazzone.

Spanning 23,000 square feet and two floors, The Esther Barazzone Center is a multi-purpose campus hub designed to exceed LEED Platinum standards and serves as the dining hall and main gathering space of this “first in the world” sustainable campus.

The Esther Barazzone Center features an innovative commercial and teaching kitchen where food from Eden Hall’s gardens and greenhouses will be prepared using 100% inductive heating, recycled through a heat loop. Power is generated from a mix of solar panels and two, highly efficient natural-gas powered micro-turbines generating electricity into the campus grid to offset use and model transitional carbon energy working in conjunction with renewable sources. In the center of the building is a large staircase, marking an aesthetic center point of the campus. The walls are earthen—using soil from the campus—with images of native trees and wood for the reclaimed from an old bowling alley.  Other features include:

  •  A large cafeteria and student lounge space with seating for 250 people.
  • A green wall of living plants—an installation that automatically waters itself. Herbs from the green wall will be used in the kitchen in the future.
  • A large, tiered classroom with advanced media technology and a digital data display of Eden Hall’s various systems for students to analyze.
  • A root cellar, with wood flooring that opens to the ground.

The dedication featured a lunch prepared in the Barazzone Center’s commercial teaching kitchen with keynote remarks by Barton Seaver, executive chef and sustainable seafood expert on “a mission to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land, and with each other—through dinner.” Seaver is the author of four books; was a Fellow with the Explorer Program at the National Geographic Society; and is the Director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In addition, he is a member of the United States Culinary Corps, where he helps develop international conversations about sustainability and the role of culinary in resource management and public health.

In addition to the celebration, the event provided an opportunity to learn more about the advanced sustainable architecture, development and leadership pioneered at Eden Hall Campus, including:

  • Research labs for water and energy monitoring, an underground energy loop system, an aquaculture center, Orchard Hall residence hall, the Esther Barazzone Center, solar greenhouse, storm and wastewater management systems, and an outdoor amphitheater.
  • The use of a variety of renewable and transitional energy sources on the campus, including 400+ solar panels, over 40 geothermal wells and highly efficient natural gas micro-turbines.
  • The realized vision of lead planners and architects: Bob Berkebile (2009 Heinz Award) of BNIM and a team from Mithun (designers of the REI headquarters in Seattle).
  • The work of Chatham’s Falk School of Sustainability, which calls Eden Hall Campus home, and offers five degrees to over 100 undergraduate and graduate students including a Bachelor of Sustainability, Master of Sustainability, Master of Sustainability + MBA, Master of Food Studies and Master of Food Studies + MBA.

Chatham is the alma mater of environmental icon Rachel Carson, and is recognized as a leader in the field of sustainability, having been named a Top 50 Green College by the Princeton Review, a top 25 green college by Sierra Club Magazine and mentioned in Forbes as one of the places “contributing to Pittsburgh’s transformation into a destination for green living.

Building on this tradition and the Rachel Carson legacy, in 2008 Chatham’s Board of Trustees decided to make a deep institutional commitment to Sustainability by “integrating Sustainability into the fabric of the University through a coordinated and sustained effort of a kind rarely seen before.”

Chatham also founded its School of Sustainability & the Environment in 2008. Fueled by a $15 million dollar gift from the Falk Foundation, the School has been renamed the Falk School of Sustainability and today offers a Master of Arts in Food Studies, a Master of Sustainability, an Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership and a Bachelor of Sustainability.

In 2008, the Eden Hall Foundation transferred the 388-acre Eden Hall Farm (originally the home of early Heinz company executive Sebastian Mueller) to Chatham. The former farm property, now known as Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus, is the
first community in the world built from “below the ground up” as an exemplary model of green development. Self-sustaining in every way, Eden Hall is a branch campus for Chatham in Pittsburgh’s North Hills communities, the eventual home to the School of Sustainability, and is designed to one-day serve 1,500 students while emitting zero carbon emissions, producing more energy than it consumes and managing all storm and waste water on-site.

International acclaim for Chatham University’s sustainability programs include recognition by the Princeton Review, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sierra Club, the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), Tree Campus USA, the League of American Bicyclists and Second Nature.

Click here for more information about these recognitions and the scope of Chatham University’s sustainable initiatives.