Carnegie Tech in the Fifties


The first degree-granting industrial design department in the U.S. was founded at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh in 1934. In 2009, the design school celebrated its 75th anniversary by asking a few graduates to reminisce about their experience as design students at Carnegie Tech and what made Tech a special place in their era. In 2010 these personal recollections will be published together with a more formal history of design at Tech and CMU.

In my piece I recall not just my own experience but, more interesting to me and perhaps to the reader, what revolutionary Nobel Prize work was happening on  “The Other Side of The Cut” in computer science, artificial intelligence and design thinking that we knew nothing about in our happy little Beaux Arts cocoon in the Fine Arts building. Fine Arts at that time took no part in the interdisciplinary invention that was going on elsewhere at Tech. Certainly that is not the case today. And that is one of the big changes for Design at Tech since my day. My own design thinking didn’t converge with the pioneering science thinking at Tech in the Fifties until decades later in Silicon Valley. Here is the story: CARNEGIE TECH IN THE FIFTIES PDF

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