Alumnus Campaigns for the Cathedral in LEGOs

Issue Date: 
November 17, 2014

The Cathedral of Learning, a University of Pittsburgh beacon and the world’s second-tallest education building, is just 8,317 votes away from another possible claim to fame: an official Cathedral of Learning LEGO kit.  

A LEGO version of the Cathedral of Learning

Josh Hall, a former Pitt student who loves both the Cathedral of Learning and LEGOs, wants your vote to help convince the LEGO Group to build and sell a replica of his one-foot-high LEGO Cathedral of Learning.

As a computer science major at Pitt, Hall didn’t spend a lot of time playing with LEGOs. In fact, it wasn’t until his mother asked him to get his LEGO collection out of her house and into his own that he started building again. Shortly after his interest was rekindled, Hall learned about a LEGO Build Contest being held by S.W. Randall Toy Store in Squirrel Hill. He entered in the spring of 2012. 

“I knew right away I was going to build the Cathedral for my entry,” Hall said on his Web site. “It’s such a clean geometric building, it just begs to be recreated in LEGO bricks.” 

Hall won the contest and soon, people were asking him where they could buy their own Cathedral of Learning LEGO kit—not realizing that it didn’t exist. 

So Hall submitted his LEGO Cathedral of Learning to the LEGO Ideas Web site (, which accepts design proposals from the public. The submission recently reached 1,683 votes, including nods from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and WTAE TV’s Sally Wiggin.  

Projects that reach 10,000 supporters within 365 days of posting are considered by LEGO and are reviewed based on their design, concept, and audience appeal. Hall has been calling on Pittsburghers to support his tribute to the iconic local landmark—the LEGO version  is on display in Pitt’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid in Alumni Hall. 

His time to win the required votes runs out in May 2015.

Since 2008, LEGO has accepted eight user-submitted designs, including “LEGO Minecraft” and “Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover.” 

Hall is the founder of Steel City LUG (LEGO User Group), a LEGO enthusiast community. Last summer, Steel City LUG members built an original display for the Cranberry Public Library Summer Reading Club, featuring scenes from Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. 

 “LEGO is not just a toy,” Hall says. “It’s a medium.”

Hall used LEGO software to create instructions for the Cathedral of Learning prototype. More than 100 people have downloaded the design that he placed on the Internet—including one person who built his own version as a present for his fiancée when she graduated from Pitt.