Omaha welcomes an Ennead Architects–designed music venue

Steel Rockin'

Omaha welcomes an Ennead Architects–designed music venue

Steelhouse Omaha as seen from the Holland Performing Arts Center across the street. (Aislinn Weidele)

Last month, Ennead Architects celebrated the opening of Steelhouse Omaha, a live music venue in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s the newest development by the largest arts institution in the state, Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa).

O-pa seeks to bring vibrant arts and entertainment experiences to Omaha and the surrounding region, including world-renowned artists, touring Broadway productions, and other concerts and shows. The institution operates two facilities in addition to the new Steelhouse: the Orpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center, the latter of which sits across the street and was also designed by Ennead.

One entrance to the venue with the building’s slanted sawtooth form hanging over it. (Aislinn Weidele)

“While music and live performances bring people together and create a bustling energy in urban cores, the design of Steelhouse Omaha creates that electric experience to accommodate all fans and genres,” Stephen Chu, Design Principal at Ennead Architects, said in a press release. “Drawing inspiration from Omaha’s industrial roots, the new Steelhouse venue embodies the vibrant energy and spirit of its growing cultural scene and puts Omaha on the map for today’s top artists.”

The design of Steelhouse Omaha reflects this industrial history through the expression of a dark, charcoal-colored aluminum exterior and sawtooth repetition meant to reference the steel manufacturing process. The interiors employ a flexible design that can accommodate the needs of the various forms of performances that it will host, ranging from touring performers to local arts organizations, while using its same sawtooth rhythm inside. It also includes a large performing hall that can house up to 3,000 guests for a variety of performance experiences.

An interior seating area and bar within the venue (Aislinn Weidele)
The main performance space is capable of housing 3,000 guests within a variety of versatile standing and seating options. (Aislinn Weidele)

“When we undertook our campus master plan almost seven years ago, we knew we wanted to work with Ennead Architects again,” Joan Squires, president of Omaha Performing Arts, said in a press release. “Ennead’s design of the Holland Performing Arts Center is extraordinary, and the venue has been a tremendous success. As we expanded the campus, we needed to ensure Steelhouse Omaha would be integrated into that same aesthetic, although with its own distinct purpose and look. We believe Steelhouse Omaha will help transform the city with its unique design and through the performers we can now bring to Omaha.”

The first performance of the venue was heralded in by The Killers on May 12 through a partnership with Live Nation.