Monthly archives for April, 2017

26 April, 2017 | Awards, Design, Recognition

Four Helix Projects Take Home Honors at Mid America Design Awards

Four, very different projects were recognized at the Mid America Design Awards ceremony last Friday. This biennial event honors interior design work within the Kansas City and Wichita areas based on innovation, functionality and implementation of overall design intent and brand.

MADA Celebration

Although the projects couldn’t be more diverse – a brewery, non-profit, workplace and university library, they share several similarities. To begin, all four feature the adaptive reuse of a historic building, blending original elements with each new owner’s aesthetic. But perhaps more importantly, all four were designed with the end-user in mind. Whether welcoming more guests or offering new services, the completed projects are helping each client better serve their community.


Boulevard

Boulevard Brewing Company

TOURS & RECREATION CENTER: GOLD, HOSPITALITY

Boulevard Brewing Company had outgrown their original tasting room, causing them to frequently turn away guests. To accommodate the increasing crowds, they purchased a historic, 1920’s, brick building adjacent to the brewery with the goal of transforming it into an expanded destination. The completed space provides an immersive learning experience, including playful exhibits that share the history of beer making and the origins of Boulevard. Their renovated building is full of handcrafted, artisanal touches – just like Boulevard’s beer. Since opening, they’ve been able to double the number of tours and visitors they can accommodate every day, and the beer hall has become a hub for community events, like yoga classes, charity events and presentations from brewers.


Creamery

The Creamery Building (3D Development)

GOLD, CORPORATE MEDIUM

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Creamery Building had been vacant for years despite its prime location in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. It was renovated to serve the needs of smaller, office tenants and entrepreneurs, who weren’t represented in the marketplace. The design team leveraged the constraints and character of the historic structure to create a flexible series of suites with corresponding amenities that would attract small, yet discerning tenants. The interior finishes in the shared spaces draw upon the existing architecture and industrial history of the building. The raw palette is carried into the suites, allowing tenants to move in without requiring a large investment. The resulting design provides an elevated brand identity beyond average small office suites.


Synergy

Synergy Services

JENNIFER & JAMIE CHILDREN’S CENTER: SILVER, CORPORATE SMALL

Synergy Services was forced to turn away 300 children from their SafeHaven women’s shelter last year due to lack of space. Through a generous donation, the organization received a 2,500-square-feet, nearly 100-year-old farmhouse on a wooded, six-acre site. The home itself was not large enough to address their full programming needs, so we created a plan to renovate the house and build an addition that was safe and welcoming for children of all ages. Drawing inspiration from the site, the design team created a concept reminiscent of a camp or cabin. The finished space feels warm and welcoming with wood finishes and many connections to the surrounding acreage, unlike traditional temporary foster shelters. With the new center, Synergy has been able to serve twice the number of children they did in the past. 


Norrington

Park University

NORRINGTON CENTER: SILVER, HIGHER EDUCATION/RESEARCH

Built in 1908, Norrington Hall originally served as the campus library until those services were relocated in the 1980’s. At that time the interior was converted into a patchwork of office and classroom spaces. In 2015, Park University initiated a renovation to return it to its original roots as a state-of-the-art library and academic commons. The design concept celebrates the historic aspects of the building, while inserting fresh uses and a modern feel to the spaces. The primary design drivers pivot on the notion that the new Norrington Center is not a 20th century library stacked with books and dust, but a 21st century student center filled with learning activities of all types, from individual study, one-on-one tutoring, group work and technologically advanced classroom learning. As Park University had hoped, the Norrington Center has quickly become an asset to students and faculty, providing a welcoming space for gathering, learning, and celebrating with Pirate pride.

Congratulations to our interior design team and our clients who allowed us the pleasure of creating these spaces for your organizations. Successful projects are only achieved through strong relationships across all team members and these awards belong to all of you.

Photos of Boulevard, The Creamery and Norrington Center by Michael Robinson. Photos of the Children’s Center provided by JE Dunn.


Elevating Arts Education for Kansas City Kids

For those of us that grew up with the arts integrated into our upbringing, it’s hard to imagine a childhood without them. But as public funding for arts programs and education continues to diminish, missing out on this invaluable experience is becoming a reality for many children. Helix has a long history of supporting the arts, holding tightly to our belief that arts education produces a valuable social and economic impact within the local community.

KCYA-sm-4355Over the past year, Helix has had the opportunity to work with two such organizations whose work is dedicated to ensuring the arts are accessible to all. They are the Kansas City Young Audiences (KCYA), the largest provider of arts programs in the Kansas City area and Academy for Integrated Arts (AFIA), an arts-centered K-6 charter school. Both chose sites where existing facilities were adapted, allowing them to reach even more kids.

Kansas City Young Audiences

KCYA began by purchasing their first permanent home in Midtown. The building, originally constructed in 1997, was the site of a large box retailer and is located along the Main Street redevelopment. The design team worked with them to develop a concept featuring a variety of flexible spaces to grow with the organization. KCYA hosts various visual and performing arts activities, as well as classes for children. Constructed by McCownGordon Construction, key spaces include two dance studios, a stage and event space, classrooms for music and the fine arts, an art gallery, administration offices with a boardroom and a marketable tenant space.

AFIA_2

AFIA found a new home in an unexpected location – the former King Louie East bowling alley. Vacant for 10 years, the building had substantially deteriorated, and AFIA was sure they would have to demolish it. However, our team was able to develop a plan to renovate the existing building, greatly reducing costs. We worked closely with teachers, administrators and the school’s board of directors to create a space that integrates the arts and technology into curriculum and everyday activities. Their new building is part of the Troost redevelopment, located at 79th & Troost Avenue.

AFIA Classroom

The project better equips AFIA to meet the needs of their students. The new space has allowed enrollment to grow from 120 to 170, and a second phase addition is already underway with the goal of expanding to 350 students. Helix and JE Dunn met the school’s a fast-track schedule, so they could be moved in at the beginning of the 2016 school year.

AFIA Classroom

According to Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning, researchers found “sustained learning” in music and theater correlates to greater success in math and reading. Additionally, students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds had the greatest benefit. In fact, KCYA shared those who participated in the arts were four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair. Despite the strong connection, a 2011 survey by Common Core and FarkasDuffett Research Group reported 66 percent of teachers surveyed said curriculum is moving away from art, music, foreign language and social studies.

Organizations like AFIA and KCYA are working to shift this trend by bringing arts education to Kansas City. Sparking creativity and innovation, non-profits like these are able to thrive through the support of volunteer boards and donors. Learn how you can support KCYA here or get involved with AFIA by donating supplies or volunteering.  

Photos of KCYA by Bob Greenspan. Photos of AFIA provided by JE Dunn.


13 April, 2017 | Academic, Awards, Historic Renovation

Norrington Center at Park University wins Historic Kansas City Preservation Award

Since its founding in 1974, Historic Kansas City (HKC) has been the only greater Kansas City nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the area’s heritage, neighborhoods and historic built environment. Two weeks ago at their annual Preservation Awards ceremony, HKC celebrated the people – developers, building owners, architects and preservationists – that have demonstrated exceptional leadership in historic preservation across our city.

We are honored that our work on the renovation of Park University’s Norrington Center was among those honored for its preservation and reinvestment in the last remaining Carnegie Library on a college campus in the State of Missouri. The Norrington Center received an Excellence Award in the Contemporary Design in a Historic Context category, which is given to a project that displays innovative contemporary design in a historic context.

norrington-study-spacehelix_norrigntonhall_1515_lrnorrington-hall-coffee-shop

The Carnegie Corporation of New York built 35 public and academic libraries in the state of Missouri between 1899 and 1917. Only one of the academic libraries is still remaining today and that is Norrington Hall on Park University’s campus. Built in 1908, Norrington Hall originally served as the campus library until those services were relocated in the 1980’s. At that time the interior was converted into office and classroom spaces. In 2015, Park University initiated a renovation to return the building to its original roots as a 21st century state-of-the-art library and academic commons.

Norrington Before & After

The majority of the historic character on the interior of the building had been removed during previous renovations but the Helix design team preserved those most defining of the building, including the grand open entry stairwell that connects the first and second floor, the stained glass window in the stairwell landing, ornamental guardrails, wood handrails, stone wall cladding and terrazzo floor finishes in the entry hall. The interior environment was transformed into modern academic and study spaces that will serve the university and make the building viable for years to come.

Norrington Beforehelix_norrigntonhall_1552_lr

The three-story steel and glass floor library stack spaces were inaccessible and unusable for today’s modern academic library. It was removed and the second floor was expanded to create a gallery space with access to restrooms while the first floor was converted into a coffee shop and study space. The design solution increased the functionality of the space while preserving the original windows that spanned the first two floors.

HyperFocal: 0

In order to provide ADA accessibility without altering the historic front entry facade of the building, a new ADA accessible entry vestibule was designed on the rear of the building along with an open patio to create a welcoming secondary entry point along a primarily pedestrian circulation route between the historic Norrington Center and the campus’s historic and iconic administration building, Mackay Hall.

Park University’s investment ensures people will continue to experience the beauty and craftsmanship of this historic structure for years to come.

For those of you that love old buildings as much as we do, Historic Kansas City hosts events throughout the year. You can check them out, along with a full list of award winners on their website.