Springboard Design

Tartans Pavilion


Springboard’s new 5,000 sf Tartans Cafe has become the most popular place on the Carnegie Mellon University campus for a slice of pizza or bowl of past. The building, a one story glass dining pavilion overlooking Gesling Stadium, features seven glass garage style doors that open up the entire façade to create a unique indoor/outdoor dining experience.

The design is environmentally sensitive, as it is an extension of a LEED-certified building. The program includes a wood-fired brick oven for pizzas and hoagies, cafe-style seating for over 100 persons, and a separate wet bar area. Highlights of the construction feature exposed, curved steel roof beams supporting a structural wood deck, and radiant-heat concrete floors.

Slotted into an unusual campus plaza, the Tartans Café posed a unique design challenge. The client wanted a ‘dining destination’ that simultaneously fit into the campus setting and stood out – to attract diners. The design solution, a transparent glass pavilion, succeeds in answering both requirements. Situated within the stadium, the pavilion enables diners to be a ‘part of the action’ while eating undercover; in warm weather, the façade literally disappears to bring the fresh air, sight and sounds of the stadium indoors.  The building has become so popular that Carnegie Mellon University’s official monthly newsletter, The Piper, has recently described the project as “the sexiest” new building on campus.

photography by Alexander Denmarsh