Monthly archives for December, 2015

New Architects | New Dads

Remember when we previously mentioned that our architects are multiplying?  We really weren’t joking!  Not only did five of our employees pass their respective licensing exams this year, but two of them were lucky enough to experience the birth of their first child. In 2015, both Mark Neibling and Jim Kersten became licensed architects and new dads. We typically use this opportunity to have a Q&A session with our newly licensed staff members, and this occasion was no exception. However, given this unique coincidence, we thought this would be a great opportunity for a game of “Who Said It? Mark vs. Jim”.  But before we quiz you, it may be best to give you a little background on each:

mark and jim

Mark Neibling :
Mr. Calm, cool and under control. We can always count on Mark to have advice on bicycles, take pictures of cranes, and be nit-picky about details. He also loves a good diagram.

Mark has spent a significant portion of his career at Helix working on the design and construction administration of the award-winning KCMO Police Headquarters. His creativity, knowledge of building materials, and meticulous care for detail has been to thank for the numerous awards and honors the project has received.

Loves: His Bicycle.

Most memorable Helix moment:
“Ushering a great project from inception to completion.

Working with a great project team; a group that could argue with each other really well.”

 

Jim Kersten :
He’s been known to introduce himself with a full-on pecha kucha. Jim can often be seen at Helix, commanding the ping-pong table in orange tennis shoes. Or at the Richard Bolling Federal Building with a hard hat and official name badge. 

At Helix, Jim has been responsible for leading construction administration for the final phases of the Federal Building renovation. His resume also includes projects such as the Bryan Cave offices and the historic renovation of the Lowe and Campbell Building.

Loves: National Parks

Most memorable Helix moment:
Probably the day the Great Seal was installed at the Federal building. That was a very complex project, but it turned out very impressive and as a bonus I learned a lot about the history of the Great Seal of the United States.” 

Mark-V-Jim-graphic-2a

YOUR SCORE:  

Your Ranking:  

 


Before our Q&A session concluded, we asked both Mark and Jim for some final, encouraging words.

Q: Any words of encouragement for other architects who are currently studying for and/or taking their AREs?
JIM:
Just take one test at a time and eventually, after many hard years, you’ll get there.
MARK: Schedule your next test before you take your current test. Get it done. Now. Life does not slow-down

Q: Any words of encouragement for new dads?
JIM: Everyone always talks about the late nights, the lack of sleep, the worrying, but taking care of a little baby is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable things I’ve ever done. I have literally enjoyed every day with my boy.
MARK: Be supportive and kind to your wife. Always.

We are always looking for a good excuse to celebrate, and this year did not disappoint. We hope you had as much fun learning about our newly licensed architects and fathers. Congratulations to you both!  

  

 


16 December, 2015 | Collaboration, Community Outreach, Culture

The Bud Prize

Award Recipients3

Every fall, Helix teams up with the UMKC Department of Architecture and Urban Planning for The Bud Prize – an annual design competition and scholarship opportunity for second year students. The scholarship was created in honor of the late Bud Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix. The fund is intended to recognize the life and work of Bud Persons by promoting the study and knowledge of architecture and design through a scholarship grant awarded to students attending UMKC. In celebration, Helix joins the students and faculty, along with their families and friends, for a reception and award ceremony.

This year, the assignment was to design a community art center, located at Manheim & Troost in Kansas City, MO. The program required that the community center include classrooms, private studios, administrative offices, and support spaces, as well as a retail art gallery and outdoor work area. The program also challenged students to think beyond designing a space that was both pleasing and functional. Students were required to think about the context of their design as it relates to its impact in the surrounding community – much like architecture, design, and urban planning in the real world. We are excited to announce the recipients of this year’s scholarship:

First Place: Olivia Ashbrook
Second Place: Lauren Silvers
Honorable Mention: Sam Green


Congratulations to all the students for their hard work!

To read more about the winning projects, check out UMKC’s blog post about this year’s Bud Prize.
(Award Recipients pictured above from left to right: Olivia Ashbrook, Sam Green, Lauren Silvers)


8 December, 2015 | Design, Renovation, Workplace

What does it take to successfully renovate one of the largest office buildings in Kansas City?

We recently celebrated a monumental milestone — the rededication of the 1.2 million-square-foot Richard Bolling Federal Building in downtown Kansas City. Its complete modernization took four phases spanning 15 years, all while the building remained occupied.

Our work on the $280 million project, which was rededicated Nov. 6, drew praise from Jason Klumb, U.S. General Services Administration Regional Administrator for the Heartland Region. He wrote this in a letter to our design team:

“Helix Architecture + Design has given the American taxpayers and GSA a public space that we are very, very proud to serve in. Throughout the project, your leadership and coordination was paramount to the success of the renovation. … Your work ensured we received the most professional and appropriate design services, you were diligent in meeting deadlines, and you maintained sensitivity to the budget that respected the investment of taxpayers. … Your team made the process very smooth and was always there when we needed you. … It was a job well done, on budget, and ahead of schedule.”

The project, designed under the GSA’s Design Excellence Program, aimed to improve the workplace environment for the building’s 2,800 occupants while improving energy efficiency, upgrading security and abating environmental issues.

Constructed in 1962, the 18-story Bolling Building is an exceptional example of Mid-Century Modern architecture. As architects, there is an inherent thrill in working on a structure of this magnitude, but first and foremost this project was about people — thousands of people whose lives are impacted by this building every day, and whose work experience is enhanced by this renovation.

We created progressive, high-performance workplaces tailored to modern employees and to the culture of each organization that uses the building. Alternative office spaces — such as lounge areas, small team rooms, and conference rooms — accommodate a variety of work styles. We also made the space capable of adapting to continued growth.  And when designing shared spaces within the building — the café, the fitness center, conference rooms, the health clinic — we sought to provide opportunities for interaction across departments and agencies.

GSA’s leadership on this project also reflects its commitment to the environment. Since the renovation began, the building’s energy use has decreased by 40 percent. In addition, two green roofs and two underground cisterns can capture up to 110,000 gallons of rainwater to irrigate the two-city-block site. Phase 3 achieved LEED certification, and Phase 4 is slated to achieve LEED Silver certification.  

We had an incredible team of partners — GastingerWalker&, JE Dunn Construction and our engineering consultants — that were instrumental to successfully delivering such a complex project on budget and ahead of schedule.  We are proud to be part of such a monumental project and an exceptional team.

Photos credited to Michael Robinson Photography


Celebrating Community at the Ribbon Cutting for the New KCPD Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

Earlier this week the City of Kansas City, Missouri and the Kansas City Police Department hosted a ribbon cutting for the new Leon Mercer Jordan Campus, which includes the East Patrol Division station and regional crime lab.  The event drew community leaders and hundreds of attendees from across the city to celebrate the success of the project and the positive impact it will have on the community.

SE view-final

Helix worked alongside a team of over twenty consultants, many of whom are certified MBE, WBE and Section 3 businesses,  to deliver a new state of the art Patrol Division and Crime Lab that will serve the city well into the future. Together the team succeeded in creating a model project that shows how collaboration and inclusion can work as a strategy for building a great city.

In addition to housing police functions, the East Patrol Station houses a community room, a computer room and a gymnasium that are open to the public. In an article in the Kansas City Star Police Chief Darryl Forte and Rev. John Modest Miles shared their enthusiasm for the value the facility brings to community members.

Police Chief Darryl Forte said, “It’s not just a police station. It’s a place where people can gather – where they can do homework, play a game of basketball or have a neighborhood meeting in a safe and supportive environment.”

Rev. John Modest Miles said, “It is one of the most blessed things that could happen to this community. I am convinced that it is going to spark the rebirth of the whole community.”

SW view-final

Thank you and congratulations to all of our design team members, the city, the police department and our construction team. We are incredibly honored to have the opportunity to work with all of you to deliver such an important project for Kansas City.

Detailed information on the project and its history can be found on the police department’s Safer KC website.