What is now the Tepper School of Business was originally built as the Graduate School of Industrial Administration. It sits elevated above the corner of Frew and Tech Streets, across from Skibo Gynmasium.
It was built in 1951 and designed by Burton Kenneth Johnstone, a Pittsburgh-based architect and former chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Architecture. He also served as dean of Carnegie Mellon’s College of Fine Arts until 1952, so this building was designed as he was transitioning from academia to private architectural practice. According to his obituary, Johnstone later became known for designing medical buildings and facilities for the disabled.
The design of the Tepper School is restrained and uses varying heights on the building and unified materials including tan brick and limestone. The most prominent design elements are both the exterior and interior sculptures. On either side of the main entrance, Pittsburgh artist George Koren designed reliefs in limestone. According to a guide on notable sculpture in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, the reliefs “present the materials of Pittsburgh’s historical industries: steel, coal, and oil, and their uses in manufacturing, transportation, and construction.”
On the interior lobby space, artist and Carnegie Mellon professor Robert Lepper sandblasted images into the dark red marble walls. The images denote sources of industry, a topic of recurring interest for the artist.