University breaks ground on Heinz Memorial Chapel Garden



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On what is today a patch of grass outside the Heinz Memorial Chapel on the University of Pittsburgh campus, a formal European garden will soon spring to life, thanks to the generosity of current and future donors.  

“After a long planning process, we’re overjoyed to see the construction of the Heinz Chapel Garden begin,” said Heinz Memorial Chapel Director Patricia Gibbons. “We know this garden will add to the beauty of Heinz Chapel and the Pitt campus.”

Officials from the University, with representatives from project partners Mosites Construction and Klavon Design Associates, participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Garden on Wednesday, March 28.

The event kicked off the three-month construction process by Mosites with plans for the garden to be completed in early July.

Klavon designed the garden to be classic and understated in an effort to showcase, rather than compete with, the iconic Heinz Chapel. The design emulates formal European parterre gardens, which are often paired with ornate Gothic architecture such as Heinz Chapel.

Five-foot wide sandstone walkway pavers will radiate from a three-tiered fountain that aligns with the center of the chapel and acts as the focal point of the garden. The fountain is surrounded by a seat wall constructed of limestone to match Heinz Chapel. Benches will be tucked in throughout the garden to provide space for quiet reflection.

Digital rendering of Heinz Chapel Garden design provided by Klavon Design Associates
Digital rendering of Heinz Chapel Garden design provided by Klavon Design Associates.

Elements within the garden are available for naming, which has been of particular interest to those who were married in Heinz Chapel. The campaign will not only fund the construction of the garden but will also establish an endowment to preserve and enhance the chapel for decades to come.

“For nearly 80 years, Heinz Chapel has touched the lives of so many as an unmistakable landmark in the heart of Pitt’s Oakland campus,” said Gibbons. “This garden is a unique opportunity for those who love Heinz Memorial Chapel to ensure the building’s future while also becoming a part of its legacy.”

Dedicated in 1938, Heinz Memorial Chapel was given to the University of Pittsburgh by the H.J. Heinz family and hosts approximately 1,000 events annually, including religious and memorial services, weddings, classes, lectures, and concerts. Operation and preservation of Heinz Chapel is funded through fees, gifts and grants.

Follow this link to learn more about the Heinz Memorial Chapel Garden and to see a listing of available naming opportunities.

For more information, contact Julie.Seavy@pitt.edu or (412) 648-7750.