O’Reilly Theater
O’Reilly Theater
Penn Avenue Master Plan

O’Reilly Theater

Penn Avenue Master Plan

Legitimate Theater for the Resident Company

We designed the O’Reilly primarily for the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s spoken drama and comedy productions but also for occasional music, dance and film. By surrounding the flat-floor thrust stage with steep semicircular banks of seating, we created an intimate relationship between audience and performer. The materials, shape and details of the room create an acoustic environment that does not require amplified sound.

Designing the Theater-Going Experience

From walking along the street to being seated in the auditorium, theater-goers experience the exhilaration of attending performances, enhanced by the dynamic curving forms of the building.   A vaulted copper roof overhanging the sidewalk defines the circular two-story lobby and prefunction balcony and reflects the shape of the rehearsal hall above. The curves also foreshadow the horseshoe shape of the auditorium where the audience surrounds the stage on three sides.

Creating Community Through the Arts

Our master plan for a block along Penn Avenue revitalized Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. The O’Reilly Theater anchors one end and Agnes R. Katz Plaza the other end. We designed the Plaza in collaboration with artist Louise Bourgeois and landscape architect Daniel Kiley. A later phase, Theater Square, filled the lot in between with a service center containing retail, a 250-seat cabaret theater, radio station, Cultural District ticket office, and 791-car parking deck.

Project Details

Project Market(s):


Project Service(s):


Interior Design

Professional Credits:

Landscape Architect – Daniel Kiley

Artist – Louise Bourgeois


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Theater 53,000 SF

Plaza 24,000 SF

Garage/Retail 320,000 SF

Completion Date:


Project Lead(s):

Thomas P. Rowe, AIA


Visiting the O’Reilly will make you feel good about being in the city, make you feel part of the city and part of the life of the street. And isn’t that what going to the theater is all about, feeling alive and connected and engaged?

– Patricia Lowry, Post-Gazette Architectural Critic

Want to learn more about this industry, let us send you a link to our experience book.