9 February, 2017 | Culture, Helix People

Celebrating 25 years: A Love Letter to Kansas City

Helix 25h Anniversary PartyThank you, Kansas City.

Twenty-five years ago we were a bunch of young buck architects that optimistically saw opportunity where there were dilapidated buildings and empty parking lots. We took a risk, left our jobs and struck out on our own. We opened up shop at 9th + Baltimore, moved to 10th + Broadway and eventually landed at 16th + Walnut – where we are today. We hoped that there were others that shared our passion for revitalizing our city. At least enough to help keep our lights on.

You have delivered.

What you have become, what we have been able to be a part of over these last 25 years is inspiring.

When we talk about our city’s entrepreneurial story, this is it. It’s not all fast-growth tech startups (although they are terrific). It is small businesses coming together each day to support one another. It is the support of extraordinary clients and committed partners. And it is an ecosystem of programs (like HEMP) that nurture the passion to build something great and provide the framework for success.

Thanks to you we have been a part of something meaningful. Great work. Our life’s work. We have been able to restore some of the city’s greatest architectural treasures and add new life to the streetscapes we walk each day.

Your investment, your commitment makes our work possible. Because of you, we get to spend our days doing what we love. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all are striving for?

And while one can’t help but reflect when crossing any major milestone, our attention is focused on the next 25 years. Not only what is next for our firm, but also our industry and most importantly, for you – our city. How do we steer Kansas City’s growth in the right direction and create spaces that we will be proud of 25 years from now? How do we create places that will attract talent so that we can continue to grow as a city?

These are the questions that drive us and our work each day.

As we look towards the next 25 years, we remain committed to the principles and passion we were founded on – advancing our community through great design and civic engagement, maintaining exceptional quality in all that we do, supporting the arts, preserving our historic structures, and most of all placing the human experience at the center of everything we do.

We look around at the young talent that fills our office, the new energy they bring and fresh perspective on what this city can continue to become. They bring dreams and ideas beyond what we could have imagined 25 years ago. They challenge us. They inspire us. And we are proud to work side by side with them to design and dream and build our city for the next 25 years.

So thank you, Kansas City. We are proud to be part of your story and hope you are proud to be part of ours.

Fondly,
Helix


12 January, 2017 | Uncategorized

2016 Year in Review

Year_End_2016_Header_Image_v4

Firm of the Year. Project of the Year. Architect 50. Merger. New birds. New clients. Growth. It’s been a very good year. Here are some of the highlights.


5 January, 2017 | Academic, Design, Recognition

UMKC + Helix Announce 2016 Bud Prize Scholarship Winners

header_image_bud_prizeThe UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning & Design teams up with Helix each fall semester for the Bud Prize – a design competition and scholarship grant awarded to students attending UMKC. The annual scholarship was created in honor of the late Bud Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix when he unexpectedly passed away in 2002. The award recognizes the his vibrant life and work by promoting the study and knowledge of architecture and design.

This year, eleven second-year students were challenged to create a book store, cafe, gallery, owner’s residence and a guest apartment in an existing property at the corner of 39th and Mercier.

2016-jury-768x504Helix principal Trevor Hoiland, served on the jury this year, alongside:

  • Bill Bruning, The Bruning Company
  • Patricia O’Dell, Writer & UMKC Communication Coordinator
  • Jay Siebenmorgen, Kansas State University Dept. of Architecture  
  • Joy Swallow, UMKC Dept. of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design

The jury selected Calistro Reyes for the first place award; honorable mentions were awarded to Samantha Davis and Tayvia Navy.

bud-prize-projects_4“Calistro created a strong diagram that was developed into a very believable concept. There was consistent development throughout the project and he had complete drawings and a well-crafted model. His presentation was very articulate and complete,” Hoiland said about the first place project.

Congratulations to all the UMKC students on their hard work and for carrying on Bud’s legacy through your efforts in design. To read more about the winning projects, check out UMKC’s blog post about this year’s Bud Prize.


15 December, 2016 | Historic Renovation, Renovation, Workplace

Corrigan Station Renovation Brings Historic Tie to the Kansas City Streetcar Full Circle

Today marks the long-awaited opening of the renovated Thomas Corrigan Building at 19th & Walnut. The project, which began in April 2015, is just the latest completed project in Helix’s longstanding experience restoring historic buildings in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District.

Historic Thomas Corrigan Building, Kansas CityPhotos of the historic Thos. Corrigan Building, taken in 1981 for the building’s National Register of Historic Places application.

The 10-story Thomas (Thos.) Corrigan Building, completed in 1921, was originally developed by the Corrigan family and designed by Keene & Simpson architects. The four brothers, often referred to as the “Corrigan boys,” came to Kansas City from Canada in the late 1800’s. The family, and especially Thomas, would play a major role in developing Kansas City’s street railway lines, first with mule-drawn cars in the 1870’s, and then later electrical cars in the 20th Century — creating the city’s first streetcar franchise, the Metropolitan Street Railway Company. The historic connection between Kansas City streetcars and Thomas Corrigan makes the KC Streetcar stop outside of the new Corrigan Station come full circle back to its namesake. The original building was reportedly built for Corrigan’s four daughters, and was managed by his grandson Colonel Thomas C. Bourke for many years.

From Left to Right: Initial mule-drawn carriages in Kansas City in 1870. 12th & Walnut, populated with streetcars in 1930. Thomas’ brother and partner in railway development, Bernard Corrigan.From Left to Right: Initial mule-drawn carriages in Kansas City in 1870. 12th & Walnut, populated with streetcars in 1930. Thomas’ brother and partner in railway development, Bernard Corrigan.

The building’s primary tenant from 1921-1931 was the Gateway Station Post Office — hence the choice of Corrigan Station for the development’s new name.

In the 1930’s and 40’s, the Donnelly Garment Company occupied the building. The brand was founded in 1919 by Nell Donnelly Reed (Nelly Don) and quickly became known for its ready-to-wear dresses that were as beautiful as they were functional. She was quoted by the New York Times stating a goal to “make women look pretty when they are doing the dishes.” The company would later become the largest manufacturer of women’s clothing worldwide in the 1950’s and one of the most famous companies in Kansas City.

nelly_don_corrigan

The factory operated out of Corrigan station during it’s prime production years.

corrigan_loom_renderingsAs the most notable tenant in the history of the Corrigan Building, the Nelly Don dress company occupied the building from 1927-1948. The brand was the inspiration for a large wooden wall installation in the main lobby. The installation, fabricated by Hinge Woodworks, is an abstract take on a loom, the device used to weave cloth. The ‘loom wall’ creates visual interest and imitates the appearance of thread being manipulated through the wooden fins. The piece is meant to appear as though you’ve caught a loom in action, with the ‘threads’ moving up from the floor to the ceiling.

By 1947, Nelly Don outgrew the building and was replaced by the Veteran’s Administration – who leased the entire 123,000 square foot building for over 10 years. At that time, Col. Bourke was still managing the property and made several updates the structure, developed site parking to the west and eventually sold in 1977. In 1981 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places by it’s then owner, Alan J. Bronfman, president of Distributors, Inc.. From that time — on with very few short-term tenants — the commercial use of the building gradually declined until it was purchased in 2013 by co-developers Copaken Brooks and 3D Development.

19th-and-Main-Exterior_WEBcorrigan_renderingsThe renovation features 9-stories of office space and a 1-story of ground level retail space. The design team worked to preserve the historic character of the building in accordance with National Park Service preservation guidelines. We imagine the Corrigan family would be extremely proud to have their 100-year-old building restored — and with excellent connectivity to downtown Kansas City, via the new streetcar stop located within steps of the doors.

In addition to renovating the existing 123,000-square-foot structure, Helix designed the adjacent three-story structure. Once constructed it will provide additional retail space and covered parking on the first floor and expanded floor-plates of 25,000-square-feet on the second and third floor for office tenants. An event space was added on the rooftop to serve building tenants and host special events.

What an extraordinary project for the Main Street corridor and the continued revitalization of downtown Kansas City!


12 December, 2016 | Awards, Leadership, Recognition

Helix Architecture + Design named ‘Firm of the Year’

On Tuesday evening, Helix Architecture + Design was named 2016 Firm of The Year by AIA Kansas City. The award is given annually to one member firm that has shown extraordinary leadership in advancing the cause of architecture and its role in improving the quality of the built environment.

firm-of-the-year_cropped

AIA president, Dale Duncan cited the success of Helix’s merger with Blackbird Design Studio, recent local and national design awards and the firm’s leadership on key high-profile projects, such as the Kansas City Police Department’s Leon Mercer Jordan East Patrol Campus, as reasons for selection.

“Helix recently led design of the Leon Jordan East Patrol Campus, a transformative project in a depressed neighborhood on the east side. Helix set a higher standard for minority and women-owned business participation for the design team on that project and exceeded all goals, with a team of diverse architects, consultants and engineers in our community,” said Duncan. “Helix’s leadership is representative of the intent of our members to provide more equity in the way that we practice, and to raise the bar of diversity for the future of our members and our profession. It is quite remarkable what was accomplished.”

leon-mercer-jordanThe Leon Mercer Jordan East Patrol Campus includes a gymnasium, computer lab and meeting room that are available for community use.

AIA Kansas City accepts nominations for Firm of the Year from the general membership and selection is made through consensus by the entire board. The award was announced at AIA’s annual holiday party with over 200 local members in attendance.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by our peers,” said Reeves Wiedeman, founding principal of Helix Architecture + Design. “Helix was founded on a commitment to design excellence and community leadership nearly 25 years ago. This award is acknowledgement that remaining true to your core values and surrounding yourself with extraordinary people, both clients and staff, who share those values is the foundation for success.”

The award caps off a banner year for Helix, which has included the successful merger with Blackbird Design Studio, recognition by Architect magazine as one of the Top 50 architecture firms for design in the country and receipt of the Project of the Year award for the Kansas City Police Headquarters Renovation at AIA Kansas City’s Design Excellence Awards.

“We are proud of the accolades we have received this year but what truly energizes us is the development we see happening throughout our city,” said Jay Tomlinson, founding principal with Helix. “With each building we renovate, each block our clients infuse with new investment, we are adding to the momentum of Kansas City. We are proud to play a role in not only shaping the built environment but also how residents and visitors alike experience our community.”

completed-projects-2016A selection of the Helix projects completed in 2016

Helix has celebrated the completion of projects throughout the Kansas City region in 2016, including the Boulevard Brewing Co. Visitor Center, Corrigan Building renovation, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences Administration Building, the International Apartments, Synergy Services Children’s Center, East 9 at Pickwick Plaza North Tower, Park University’s Norrington Academic Center, Academy for Integrated Arts new charter school, Kansas City Young Audiences midtown location and the adaptive reuse of 1700-1710 Wyandotte.

AIA Kansas City also recognized two of our clients with awards; Eric Bosch, City Architect with the City of Kansas City, Missouri received the Architect of the Year award and the Kansas City Police Department received the President’s Award. Other individual AIA members were recognized for their contributions to the profession, the community and the built environment.

Congratulations to the entire Helix team and all who were honored. We are proud to work among individuals with such talent and commitment to advancing our community!


2 December, 2016 | Helix People, Leadership

Announcing Helix Promotions

Helix is pleased to announce Evan Fox, AIA has been elevated to principal status and Miranda Groth, AIA has been named an associate.

Miranda Groth, Evan Fox

Miranda Groth is a project manager and market leader for Helix Architecture + Design’s higher education practice. Throughout her career she has developed a specialized focus on academic facilities and is recognized for her ability to deliver complex projects on schedule and within budget. Since joining Helix in 2013, she has managed nearly 150,000 square feet of projects for Kansas City University, including the complex adaptive reuse of Weaver Auditorium into the new KCU Academic Center.  Most recently Miranda is managing the renovation of Hill Hall at Missouri State University and just completed the adaptive reuse of a 1950’s Bowling alley into a new home for the Academy for Integrated Arts charter school.

Evan Fox is a project manager and senior project architect with over 12 years of experience. His ability to guide high-profile projects, such as AMC’s Theatre Support Center and the Corrigan Building Renovation, from inception to completion makes him an incredible asset to the firm and our clients. Evan is known for  his well-rounded  capabilities with design detailing, consultant coordination, construction management and technical programs. Prior to moving to Kansas City he worked in Chicago on corporate headquarters and high-rise residential projects. Evan is also a leader in the local design community and an active AIA member — serving as AIA KC Design Awards Co-Chair and the AIA KC Pillars Steering Committee Chair.

blvd_evan_miranda

The Helix leadership team at our semi-annual company meeting, held at the Boulevard Visitor’s Center.

We asked Miranda & Evan a few questions to help you get to know these two key leaders a bit more.

Q: What made you choose a career in architecture? 

E: I have always loved building things. Even more so, I like the process of figuring out how you start from scratch with an idea and turn it into a building. Because building stuff is cool, but telling people how to build stuff is even cooler.

M: The influence of a grade school art teacher who noticed that I always wanted to draw rooms and buildings instead of objects or people. Her willingness to share books on the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan made me consider architecture a possibility.

Q: What’s your design philosophy? 

E: Work with good designers.

M: No fuss. I prefer everything has a purpose and a place.

Q: What brought you to Helix? 

E: The people. You have to care about what you do and who you work with. Otherwise, why do it?

M: Helix provides me the opportunity to share and develop my passions – restoration of old and historic buildings, Kansas City community involvement and desire to make a positive impact on the places people learn, work and live.

Q: Do you have any hobbies? 

E: My hobbies include BBQ smoking, playing golf and raising a pretty awesome kiddo.

M: My husband and I have made restoring our 90-year-old house our hobby. When we’re not slinging hammers or plastering, I enjoy baking, gardening, crafting and most any other “old lady” hobby as my profile suggests!

Q: What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?

E: Listening to too much Journey, Chicago, REO Speedwagon, STYX, Boston, Foreigner, etc.

M: My celebrity crush is Jeff Goldblum!


We are beyond thrilled to have these two exceptional professionals as a part of the Helix leadership team, and we congratulate both of you on your many accomplishments. Cheers to Miranda and Evan!


23 November, 2016 | Awards, Historic Renovation, Recognition

Kansas City Police Headquarters Named “Project of the Year” at AIA Kansas City’s 2016 Design Excellence Awards

As a firm that focuses on people-centered design, we measure our success on the impact a building has on the people it serves – how it functions and the experience it creates. At Helix, we are perpetually in search of these opportunities to go beyond the functional need of a space and create an exceptional environment and experience.

One such project is the renovation and expansion of the Kansas City Police Department Headquarters, which was recently named “Project of the Yearand received an “Honor Award” in the Architecture category at AIA Kansas City’s 2016 Design Excellence Awards.

Helix_KCPDHQ_ExtDet_0258_LR

The renovation and expansion of the KCPD Headquarters was designed to re-position the facility for another 70-years of service to the community while respecting the character of the historic structure. An important goal of the project was to increase transparency and expand police interaction with the community. This involved extensive changes to the first floor including the addition of a community room, which allows the public to engage in the Board of Police Commissioners meetings and serves as a venue for Police community outreach programming. The pattern of the concrete structural roof system in the new addition is adapted from Art Deco details that are found throughout the historic Police Headquarters building in both ornamental and functional roles.

“The headquarters renovation was a daunting project at the onset. Several of the 8 floors had not been updated since they were built in 1938.  With the vision of Helix Architecture and the dedicated work by JE Dunn, the end result has been nothing short of amazing.”

–  Major Sharon Laningham, Kansas City Police Department

Helix_KCPDHQ_11446_LR

The 2016 AIA Kansas City Design Award jury was comprised of nationally recognized designers, including Luis Bernardo, principal with Design Collective, Inc.; Luanne Greene, president of Ayers Saint Gross and Steve Ziger, partner with Ziger/Snead Architects. Jury comments included:

“The Kansas City Police Dept. project says everything that’s right about how a police department relates to its community. They took a limited program and communicated a welcoming civic presence that communicates that the police are an integral part of their community. This is civic architecture at its finest.”

-Steve Ziger, AIA, partner with Ziger/Snead Architects

“This one as soon as I opened up the file it was like, whoa, this is a winner this is probably going to be the grand winner. It was such a powerful and strong statement right from the get go… The program was really just bathrooms, a fire stair and a small meeting room. But what they did with that and how they took the details of the building and transformed that into this whole new ceiling structure that just comes alive at night with light, the incorporation of public art, it really spoke to what a public building can be. And in these times for it to be an addition to the police headquarters, of course, is a great moment for the community. It was everybody’s number one project.”

-Luis Bernardo, FAIA
, principal with Design Collective, Inc.

“The Kansas City Police Department Headquarters was such a beautiful project in many ways but really poignant and timely for us. The day that we got together and reviewed all the projects was a day that the news cycle was completely dominated by communities and struggles, frankly, with their police departments. At a time when our country is really struggling with these complex issues it was really wonderful to see a project where such an important civic institution as the police department headquarters project really spoke to the strength and spirit of community for Kansas City.”

-Luanne Greene, FAIA, president of Ayers Saint Gross

You can watch the full video of jury comments here:kcpd-video-screen-capture

Congratulations to our clients at the Kansas City Police Department, our construction partners at JE Dunn Construction, our engineering partners and all of our Helix design team members. Successful projects are only achieved through strong relationships across all team members and these awards belong to all of you.


21 November, 2016 | Academic, Awards, Design

Kansas City University Academic Center Receives “Honor Award” at AIA Kansas City’s 2016 Design Excellence Awards

As a firm that focuses on people-centered design, we measure our success on the impact a building has on the people it serves – how it functions and the experience it creates. At Helix, we are perpetually in search of these opportunities to go beyond the functional need of a space and create an exceptional environment and experience.

One of our projects that exemplifies this approach, the  Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences (KCU) Academic Center was recently recognized with an “Honor Award” in the Interior Architecture category at AIA Kansas City’s annual Design Excellence awards

HelixKCUMB-2_134_LR

The KCU Academic Center renovation transformed an underutilized, 1,500-seat auditorium into a state-of-the-art learning facility that features two auditoriums along with ancillary classrooms and study space. The design team developed the innovative concept of stacking the two lecture halls within the footprint of the existing auditorium. This resourceful solution saved nearly a third of what it might otherwise cost to build a new lecture facility and achieved LEED Silver Certification.

As Tim Saxe, KCU’s Director of Capital Projects shared, “The project deserves to be recognized not only for the exceptional space it creates for our students – both functionally and aesthetically – but also for the architect’s creative reuse of an underutilized building to address a critical campus need. The response from all stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive. A building that was once largely empty is now a hub of student activity, and our faculty has recognized it as one of the best spaces they have taught in.”

HelixKCUMB_6625_LR

The 2016 AIA Kansas City Design Award jury was comprised of nationally recognized designers, including Luis Bernardo, principal with Design Collective, Inc.; Luanne Greene, president of Ayers Saint Gross and Steve Ziger, partner with Ziger/Snead Architects.

Very few projects were as simple and pure as this one was. The notion of literally this found space they took one theatre and then created a classroom within that theatre made the building so much better, very sustainable idea… It literally doubled the square footage and the functions within the structure. The other thing that we appreciated was that given the new restraint in terms of what you had left in terms with volume and size was the use of color, they essentially just used one color, this color red and then a little bit of wood to add texture, everything else was white. And so we thought that was very powerful and a really nice way of bringing the strength of the idea through; nothing got lost. It was a very simple move and we appreciated it because of that.”

-Luis Bernardo, FAIA
, principal with Design Collective, Inc.

You can watch the full video of jury comments here:
kcu-video-screen-capture

The project also received a Merit Award for Interior Architecture at AIA Central States 2015 Design Excellence Awards.

Congratulations to our clients at Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences, our construction partners at McCownGordon Construction, our engineering partners and all of our Helix design team members. Successful projects are only achieved through strong relationships across all team members and these awards truly belong to all of you.


17 November, 2016 | Awards, Design, Innovative, Recognition, Renovation

Helix Architecture + Design Receives Top Honors at AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Awards

As a firm that focuses on people-centered design we measure our success on the impact a building has on the people it serves – how it functions and the experience it creates. Sometimes it’s a simple gesture, an unexpected use of materials or unique form that transforms a space and takes it from good to great. At Helix, we are perpetually in search of these opportunities to go beyond the functional need of a space and create an exceptional environment and experience.

On Friday evening, two Helix projects that embody this approach were recognized with three AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Awards, including the top honor, “Project of the Year.”  The Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences Academic Center received an “Honor Award” in the Interior Architecture category and the renovation and expansion of the Kansas City Police Department Headquarters brought home both an “Honor Award” in the Architecture category and the highest award of the evening, “Project of the Year.”

KCU Academic Center: Interior Architecture Honor Award

HelixKCUMB-2_134_LR

The KCU Academic Center renovation transformed an underutilized, 1,500-seat auditorium into a state-of-the-art learning facility and hub for student activity. The design team developed the innovative concept of stacking two lecture halls within the footprint of the existing auditorium. This resourceful solution saved nearly a third of what it might otherwise cost to build a new lecture facility. The Academic Center’s transformation from a seldom-used facility to a hub of active learning and collaboration has given KCU students and faculty a truly functional, beautiful new home.

HelixKCUMB_6625_LR

Jury Comments:

Very few projects were as simple and pure as this one was. The notion of literally this found space they took one theatre and then created a classroom within that theatre made the building so much better, very sustainable idea… It literally doubled the square footage and the functions within the structure. The other thing that we appreciated was that given the new restraint in terms of what you had left in terms with volume and size was the use of color, they essentially just used one color, this color red and then a little bit of wood to add texture, everything else was white. And so we thought that was very powerful and a really nice way of bringing the strength of the idea through; nothing got lost. It was a very simple move and we appreciated it because of that.”

  • Luis Bernardo, FAIA
, principal with Design Collective, Inc.

 

You can watch the full video of jury comments here:

kcu-video-screen-capture

 

Kansas City Police Headquarters : Project of the Year + Architecture Honor Award

Helix_KCPDHQ_ExtDet_0219_LR

The renovation and expansion of the KCPD Headquarters was designed to re-position the facility for another 70-years of service to the community while respecting the character of the historic structure. An important goal of the project was to increase transparency and expand police interaction with the community. This involved extensive changes to the first floor including the addition of a community room, which allows the public to engage in the Board of Police Commissioners meetings and serves as a venue for Police community outreach programming. The pattern of the concrete structural roof system in the new addition is adapted from Art Deco details that are found throughout the historic Police Headquarters building in both ornamental and functional roles.

Helix_KCPDHQ_ExtDet_0258_LR

Jury Comments:

“The Kansas City Police Dept. project says everything that’s right about how a police department relates to its community. They took a limited program and communicated a welcoming civic presence that communicates that the police are an integral part of their community. This is civic architecture at its finest.”

  • Steve Ziger, AIA, partner with Ziger/Snead Architects

 

“This one as soon as I opened up the file it was like, whoa, this is a winner this is probably going to be the grand winner. It was such a powerful and strong statement right from the get go… The program was just really bathrooms, a fire stair and a small meeting room. But what they did with that and how they took the details of the building and transformed that into this whole new ceiling structure that just comes alive at night with light, the incorporation of public art, it really spoke to what a public building can be. And in these times for it to be an addition to the police headquarters of course is a great moment for the community. It was everybody’s number one project.”

  • Luis Bernardo, FAIA
, principal with Design Collective, Inc.

 

“The Kansas City Police Department Headquarters was such a beautiful project in many ways but really poignant and timely for us. The day that we got together and reviewed all the projects was a day that the news cycle was completely dominated by communities and struggles frankly with their police departments. At a time when our country is really struggling with these complex issues it was really wonderful to see a project where such an important civic institution as the police department headquarters project really spoke to the strength and spirit of community for Kansas City.”

  • Luanne Greene, FAIA, president of Ayers Saint Gross

 

You can watch the full video of jury comments here:kcpd-video-screen-capture

The 2016 AIA Kansas City design award jury was comprised of nationally recognized designers, including Luis Bernardo, principal with Design Collective, Inc.; Luanne Greene, president of Ayers Saint Gross and Steve Ziger, partner with Ziger/Snead Architects.

Congratulations to our clients at the Kansas City Police Department and Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences, our construction partners at JE Dunn Construction and McCownGordon Construction, all of our engineering partners and our Helix design team members. Successful projects are only achieved through strong relationships across all team members and these awards truly belong to all of you.


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