You are here

Theater Square

-A A +A
Incorporating the O'Reilly Theater
1999, Michael Graves. 621 Penn Ave.
  • (Michelle Krone)

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust purchased and renovated several older structures between Liberty Avenue and the Allegheny riverfront, but Theater Square is its main venture in new construction. Consisting of a theater and parking garage by Michael Graves (an office tower remains an unfunded dream for the moment), plus a small plaza designed by Louise Bourgeois and Daniel Kiley in collaboration with Graves, the complex sits opposite Benedum Center (AL31) and Heinz Hall (AL11). Within a few minutes' walk are the Harris Theater and the Byham Theater (see AL12), also projects of the trust. As the home of the Pittsburgh Public Theater, the O'Reilly is the key element in Theater Square. It features a thrust stage and seats 650 people on three levels. Externally, the theater is boldly articulated as a glass and concrete half cylinder at ground level and a half-barrel-vaulted rehearsal hall above. The garage acts as an eleven-story pylon of brick and precast concrete.

The innovative part of the complex is the park. Bourgeois designed a twenty-five-foot-tall free-form bronze volcano through which water courses in rivulets. Spectators rest on smooth eyeball-shaped granite benches in a grove of trees.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.



  • 1999


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Theater Square", [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 59-60.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.