Celli-Flynn Brennan Architects & Planners is a full-service architectural and planning firm located in the cultural district of downtown Pittsburgh. The firm was founded in 1949 and has completed work across a wide range of market sectors– public buildings, higher education and K thru 12 education facilities, religious institutions and historic preservation. Celli-Flynn Brennan’s higher education work has led the firm to national recognition in this field. We are experts in campus planning, 21st century learning design and recruitment consulting.

Our approach is client-focused, consistent and contextual. We reach design goals through careful listening, the highest levels of principal involvement and collaborative design.

Client Focus

Celli-Flynn Brennan’s philosophy is client-focused, not project-focused. That means that we take a holistic approach – getting to know our clients’ businesses, not just their short-term project needs, in order to deliver a more powerful and effective project.

Careful listening is central to Celli-Flynn Brennan’s approach. To understand a client’s aspirations and visions, we rely on input from everyone who will be impacted by the design. At a college or university, for example, we facilitate workshop sessions with administrators, board members, faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors & prospective donors, community groups, neighbors and town administrators. The client is an integral part of informed choices and educated decisions. It is close listening to these groups that helps us to understand their expectations and to develop project direction.

In the higher education arena, our client-focused approach translates to services like The Walkabout, which helps college and university administrators restructure their business models, retool their recruitment and retention strategies and address facilities needs in an integrated way. The Walkabout delivers hard-hitting results and maximizes the client’s investment.

In addition to normal architectural services, we also help our clients with their fundraising efforts, and with identifying and applying for alternative funding from federal, state, local and non-profit organizations.

Design and project management is led by the principals of this office. Thomas C. Celli and Bill Brennan are meeting with clients and making project decisions on a day-to-day basis. This way, we are able to ensure the highest level of commitment, long-term consistent leadership and fast response.

Giving Back – Community Engagement

We believe it is the responsibility of any business to give back to the community. We encourage members of our team to engage and serve the local, and even the global, communities. Thomas C Celli served as a faculty member for The National Science Foundation’s Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL); is a sponsor for 23 years and an active participant in the Council of Independent Colleges Presidents’ Institute (CIC) events and served as a consulting member of the Learning Spaces Advisory Committee, part of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE). In ‘American Architects’, Architect Celli was named one of the 300 prominent architects in the United States. Thomas C. is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University in Bulgaria, a member of the 900 year old Sovereign Military Order of Malta; and has served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh; and, a member of the Board of The Urban League of Pittsburgh for twelve years- six years as Vice President. Former member of the Pittsburgh Rotary Club, and former member of the Pittsburgh History Center Board of Trustees [aka Heinz History Center];Early member of The Board of Trustees Shady Lane School Pittsburgh; Advisor to Council of Independent Colleges’ Committee to oversee the Historical Survey of seven hundred American campuses funded by the J.Paul Getty Foundation. A lineage member of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution General Arthur St. Clair Chapter.

Legacy of Innovation

Just as Celli-Flynn Brennan designed breakthrough facilities for some of the world’s largest paper manufacturers in the 1950s and 60s, the firm continues to innovate today. We have been recognized by organizations like Project Kaleidoscope, an initiative that teaches the planning and design of undergraduate science laboratories, for cutting-edge thinking and implementation of design concepts like putting Science on Display and integrating the visual arts into science classrooms. We are known for pushing the box, or actually, getting rid of the box altogether. Evident at St. Francis Central Catholic Elementary School, whose silo and gambrel roofs are everything but the boring, beige box which unfortunately continues to define schools of the early 21st century.

We encourage our clients to consider new ideas, like the DaVinci Studio for example – a wide-open, agile, technology-rich space where students from any and all disciplines can collaborate, from the industrial arts to robotics, dance to nanotechnology, mathematics to sculpture. Have a conversation with Tom Celli today to learn more about how these concepts could transform your institution and propel you to the top.

Commitment to Sustainability

We are committed to design buildings that promote the health and productivity of their occupants and minimize their impact on the environment. Therefore, sustainable design is a part of our firm’s philosophy and culture. We educate all of our clients about sustainable design decisions and help them to achieve LEED certification if that is a project goal. Sustainable design must be thought of from a whole-building, life-cycle perspective; however we have listed some important components of sustainable design below.

  • Resource efficiency
  • Energy-efficiency
  • Renewable energy use
  • Water conservation
  • Habitat preservation and restoration
  • Natural heating & cooling
  • Stormwater management
  • Recycled content, non-toxic, salvaged and local materials
  • Durability of building materials and designs
  • Agility to change use over time

We practice what we preach. Our workspace, renovated in 2005, was the first LEED registered commercial office interior in the City of Pittsburgh.


From the bright, young intern architects who are 3D modeling whizzes, to the architects who have ‘been around the block,’ CFB’s team is crafted, and continually evolves, to be current, skilled and open-minded. We have shaped our staff with individuals who have the diversity of backgrounds and experiences, skill levels, interests and talents to provide a one-of-a-kind package that best supports a client-driven philosophy and design approach. To learn more about the principals of our team, please click here.

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