Carnegie Mellon University

Fifth and Clyde Dormitory & Commons

The new dormitory at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Clyde Street houses 264 students. Rooms are suites and semi-suites, with several ADA rooms. Each floor has features requested by students, including 2 laundry rooms, a kitchen, lounges, and study rooms. The building design maximizes natural lighting with windows in every student room and full height windows in double story lounges. Both student life and the environment were a priority in the design. Energy efficient options were also prioritized, with a design goal of LEED Gold certification.

Fifth Clyde Courtyard

Energy Efficiency

Fifth and Clyde House is the first new dormitory on campus since Stever, which was built almost 20 years before. Much like the last dorm, CMU has focused on equipping this building with high efficiency technology. It will also be LEED certified (Gold). From water saving shower heads to the 4 green roofs, the building and surrounding landscape is designed to minimized the use of new water and retain stormwater runoff. The building envelope is designed to keep in the heat during the winter, while the façade prevents sunlight from overheating the building in the summer. Instead of having units solely for each building, a district energy system has been created with both Fifth and Clyde House and the Fifth/Neville Apartments next door. The chiller on the top of the Fifth and Clyde air conditions both buildings, while the boilers in Fifth/Neville provide heating. A generator is also shared between to two buildings. Behind the Fifth and Clyde House, a district trash area has been created to consolidate waste from the 5 neighboring buildings. This includes a compactor, which can reduce the number of truck pickups needed from a few times per week to a few times per month.

Fifth Clyde Lounge


The goal of the Fifth and Clyde House design is to give the students a comfortable atmosphere while living away from home.

  • Each student room has large windows to allow natural light to permeate the space. The color of carpet, walls, and doors was chosen to be neutral specifically so students could decorate to their own tastes.
  • Each floor has its own kitchen, giving students the ability to cook a favorite meal or make snacks with friends.
  • Laundry and trash rooms on each floor provide convenience – no more lugging laundry to and from the basement!
  • Study and lounge spaces on every floor allow plenty of room for groups to meet to work on project, or to hang out and watch a movie or TV.
  • The building also has large a large kitchen and lounge on the first floor that are big enough to hold events, such as an orientation mixer or small club meeting.
Fifth Clyde Sustainability


  • All wood accents throughout the building are bamboo. Plywood made of bamboo has a warm tone and a feeling of being closer to nature. Ceilings, furniture, accent pieces, and most of the art were made of bamboo to bring that natural warm feeling into the building.
  • All furniture and flooring throughout the building is made with fabrics that are not on the ‘Red List.’
  • Carpet free rooms are located throughout the building to help those with allergies, and use linoleum flooring (a sustainable building material).
Artwork in Fifth Clyde - wooden world map


  • As you enter from Fifth Avenue, you are welcomed to the building by a wood piece created by Urban Tree. The famous line from Mr. Rogers “Won’t you be my neighbor?” is etched into slabs of wood harvested from campus.
  • In the community kitchen, the Spice World piece was design by the building’s architects (LTL – Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis) as a way to show how food brings us all together. Spices on the piece are shown in a location where they are harvested, creating an interactive food map of the world.
  • In the main residential lounge, a stunning bamboo piece designed by CMU’s DOSA team and the building’s architect. The “Sister Bridges” – the Carson, Warhol, and Clemente – are etched into bamboo panels with the city’s skyline. Bridges are a piece of Pittsburgh history, and a symbol of community connection. The 3 particular people these bridges are name for were groundbreakers in their fields.
  • A new public art piece will be viewable from all rooms along the courtyard, and from Fifth Avenue in front of the Marketing/Communications building. (More to come later!)
Fifth Clyde Commons

Community Commons

The Community Commons is a space within the Fifth and Clyde House that is open to all members of the CMU community.

  • It is a place for relaxation, rejuvenation, and play.
  • Sit around the fireplace while reading a book. Have coffee or tea with friends in a nook.
  • Sleep in a hammock.
  • Meet with friends in the wellness room to dance.
  • Practice with your band in the large music room. Practice on your own in the small music room.
  • Use the large flexible space where to attend a presentation or watch a movie on the projector screen with everyone from your floor.

Team Members

Campus Design and Facility Development is working in conjunction with the following organizations to complete the project: 

Rycon, Pittsburgh, PA - Construction Manager
LTL Architects (Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis), New York, NY - Executive & Design Architect
Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, Pittsburgh, PA - Associate Architect
ME Engineers, New York, NY - MEP and Energy Engineering
Silman, New York, NY - Structural Engineer
Langan, Pittsburgh, PA - Civil Engineer