Ennead Architects celebrates as Steelhouse Omaha opens


Steelhouse Omaha, a new mid-size live music venue in Nebraska, designed by Ennead Architects, has opened.

Situated in downtown Omaha, Steelhouse will host performances across multiple genres. It is the city’s latest development from Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa).

“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,” said Stephen Chu, design principal at Ennead Architects. “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.”

“When we undertook our campus master plan almost seven years ago, we knew we wanted to work with Ennead Architects again,” said Joan Squires, president of O-pa. “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.”

Exterior view of Steelhouse Omaha

Steelhouse Omaha

Supporting O-pa’s mission to present the highest level of performing artists and performances in three world-class facilities, Ennead’s design emphasises flexible accommodation for the differing needs of touring performers, arts organisations, community groups and any other future uses, while providing opportunities to present new programmes in non-traditional layouts.

Steelhouse features a performance hall with an occupancy of up to 3,000 guests, equipped with various audience arrangements including standing room – which is preferred by many artists and their fans – club seating, and risers for different configurations on the floor. The venue will also offer multiple amenities including a lounge and terrace, outdoor patio and lobby.

Paying homage to the area’s industrial roots, Ennead created a dark charcoal, aluminium-clad building that creates a reflective luminous exterior. The sawtooth rhythm of the design references the site’s history of manufacturing, bringing an industrial feel to a new space dedicated to a different kind of production – a space that is designed for artistic creation, for famed and local artists and community groups to experiment and perform. O-pa is partnering with Live Nation as its exclusive promoter and hosted The Killers for the first performance on 12 May.

Steelhouse is projected to attract more than 155,000 people annually and generate US$13m in annual economic impact. Partners and collaborators on the Steelhouse project include Holland Basham Architects, Fisher Dachs, Threshold Acoustics, Kiewit Building Group and TRI Project Solutions.

Steelhouse Omaha is adjacent to the Holland Performing Arts Center, which was also designed by Ennead and opened in 2005.

Photos by Aislinn Weidele, courtesy of Ennead Architects

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Izzy became editor of Auditoria magazine in 2018, having previously served as assistant editor on the title earlier in her career. She is also the editor of Business Jet Interiors International, Railway Interiors International and new launch Cruise Liner Interiors International. Over the course of a decade as a business-to-business magazine editor, Izzy has covered everything from airline catering to car safety technologies, autonomous vehicles and business aviation airports. Outside of work, Izzy loves watercolour painting, live music and travel.

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