O’Keefe Elevator Company commissioned Avant Architects to complete a rehabilitation and renovation of the 1920 Pittsburgh Plate and Glass Company Building for their company headquarters.  The project entailed creating a modern office, gallery, warehouse, and training center within.  The design focused on creating a balanced juxtaposition between the historic features that were able to be reused and the intervention of modern forms and materials for the upscale office.


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  • Project Location:  Omaha, Nebraska
  • Project Size:  77,000 SF
  • Project Cost:  $2.5 million
  • Project Completed:  2001
  • contract Magazine- Honor Award, Restoration Projects, 2002.
  • AIA Nebraska Honor Award, 2002

Contrast the existing to bring forth the beauty of the past and heighten the experience.  The original building was built in 1920 for Pittsburgh Plate and Glass and was occupied until 1979. With over 60 years of use, the building was beginning to deteriorate.  All the exterior windows were replaced.  The interior and exterior brick walls along with the concrete columns were soda blasted, patched, and repaired.  The wood and concrete floors were also refinished and sealed.

A parking garage was created in the basement and is connected to the exterior by a ramp.  The ground floor has been transformed into an entry gallery for local artists, training room, and warehouse storage.  The main architectural features in this area are a stair and a steel plated radius wall that reaches up into the three-story volume.

The second floor has been created to fulfill the needs of a high-tech office, but at the same time it compliments the old in a raw and machine like way.  To be sensitive to natural lighting issues, perimeter offices have been designed with glass fronts to allow sunlight to reach into the core space.

The third floor consists of the employee break room/kitchen, which has upper cabinetry that has been detailed to appear as though it was hanging from the ceiling by a custom clamp and turnbuckle system.  The existing wood floors in this area have also been refinished to a beautiful shine.

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