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.


New Life for a Historic Kansas City Treasure

We are fortunate to work on projects here at Helix that often make us step back and think, “wow…we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful city.” The recent renovation of the historic Baltimore Club building is one of those projects.

Standing on the rooftop event space you can’t help but feel proud of downtown Kansas City and the transformation that continues to take place. Take a peek for yourself…

Baltimore Club2

The building itself is a Kansas City treasure featuring ornate details and a rich history. The event spaces, recently renamed the Brass on Baltimore, offer a balance of historic character (the stain glass windows in the Tudor room are extraordinary!) and modern amenities.

Helix Architecture + Design, Baltimore Club

Helix transformed the penthouse apartments on the 15th floor into a new indoor-outdoor event space with stunning views of downtown Kansas City.

Helix Architecture + Design, Baltimore Club

What an amazing place to host a party!

Helix Architecture + Design, Baltimore Club

How lucky are we that we get to help bring spaces like this to life?

Cheers to you, KC!

You can find more info on the Brass on Baltimore event spaces on their website and more about the building’s history as the Kansas City Club on our recent blog post. The renovation was also featured recently in the Kansas City Business Journal.

All photos credited to Michael Robinson Photography.

Video Credited to Blackburrow Creative.


11 November, 2015 | Renovation

Rave Reviews for the Newly Renovated National Museum of Toys & Miniatures

Dollhouses, Star Wars figurines, pedal cars and the world’s largest fine-scale miniature collection are just a few of the treasures you will find at the newly renovated National Museum of Toys & Miniatures. After a year-long $8 million renovation, the museum reopened on August 1st to rave reviews and the Helix Architecture + Design team couldn’t be more proud of the results.

KC Parent said, “Wow, this is one amazing makeover! A streamlined entry and revised floorplan simplify things for visitors but retains the magic and whimsy we’ve loved for years.”  Spaces Magazine said, “This hidden gem is definitely on its way to being a main Kansas City attraction.” And Visit KC shared some of their favorite finds, including the two-story spinning helix “Toytisserie” sculpture created by artist Sarah Lugg Regan.

Steve Paul’s editorial in the KC Star highlighted the collaboration between the Helix design team, museum leaders and exhibit designer, West Office to reconfigure the space. The result is “a bright and fresh new layout and a wholly transformed exhibit strategy.”

The Pitch recognized the, “newly reopened, stunningly improved” museum in their “Best of Kansas City” awards saying, “we’re not sorry to say childlike wonder is what we felt when we toured the renovated space.” And, most recently Wired magazine noted it as a must-see in their article spotlighting Kansas City.

Over 72,000 toys and miniatures call the museum home, but we couldn’t resist highlighting one of our favorites – the miniature Vitra furniture!

We also love Sarah Lugg Regan’s process of creating the “Toytisserie” from 330-gallons of toys donated by local Kansas-citians. KCUR did a great feature on the installation.

We highly recommend you go check it out yourself. Info on the museum’s hours and their collection can be found on their website.

All images credited to Aaron Dougherty Photography.

 


29 October, 2015 | Leadership

PDX + ULI: Bringing New Development Ideas Home to Kansas City

During the month of September I had the opportunity to attend the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Exchange trip to Portland and the Urban Land Institute’s Fall Conference in San Francisco. While the focus of these two events was different, I left both energized with new ideas to share with the rest of the Helix team and others in the Kansas City community who share our passion for making KC a healthy, growing, culture-filled place that people love to call home.

These are just a few of the takeaways that caught my attention and seemed to continuously appear throughout varied presentations I attended. While I view these ideas through the eyes of a designer, I would love to hear the perspectives of others. Hopefully this is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation about how we can continue to elevate our city.

We make our own luck
Many urbanists say that Portland is lucky to have the city they do today, but I say they made their own luck. 35 years ago, following state legislation that set agriculture and the environment as the two topics that are most dear to Oregonians, the people of Portland established their Urban Growth Boundary. Fast forward to today, and Portland now has the kind of city that the next generations want; dense urban places where business and culture can thrive in a setting that supports walking, biking and all forms of rail travel. If Portland was lucky, they made their own luck with their UGB. As Kansas City plans for growth we need to look beyond the current trends to what people will want in a city 30 years from now.

Culture is the new currency
Play. Work. Live. That is the order of how people adopt new places. Grand master plans are great, but the cities that nurture and support rich urban cultures, especially around the arts, will attract locals and visitors alike who want to be where that vibe exists. And, cities made up of single use districts (financial, residential, service) are going to be things of the past. It isn’t enough to create mixed-use districts; we need to create districts that put culture and experience first. If you do that housing and office development will follow. The Crossroads Arts District in KC is a prime example of this development pattern. We have so many great urban neighborhoods in KC – the Northeast, 18th & Vine, the West Bottoms – the list is too long to note them all. Where are these next pockets of culture in our community and what can we do together to help them thrive and grow?

The next MAJOR disruptor to commercial real estate
Autonomous vehicles. The world we live in today where we need several places to park our cars will be gone in  15 years. To get around we’ll simply notify the ride service that we use to pick us up and deliver us to our destinations Think of what that means? All of those parking spaces and garages that we’ve built will be ripe for repurposing. As our urban centers continue along the path of urban redevelopment we need to avoid over-building additional parking and make sure that any new structures are capable of adapting to other uses.

Tired of hearing about Millenials?
Well, Gen Z, the group following the Millenials will be in the workforce in 5 years and they are even larger in numbers than their predecessors. As the first TRUE digital natives, they look at the world differently. Because of technology they have lived their entire lives untethered so for them, ‘work’ will no longer be someplace they go but something they do. Their belief system will continue to change how and where we work.  The New York Times and Fortune magazine have published some really exceptional articles on the demographics of this generation and the potential impact they will have on the workplace environment.

What’s next in sustainable design?
For years energy use has been the primary driver behind sustainable development but water constraints will increasingly shape world-wide development patterns, and therefore our real estate. It’s also projected that 80% of the buildings we will need and occupy in 2050 already exist today. For those of us who believe that preserving existing buildings is one of the most effective ways to ensure both environmental and cultural sustainability, we couldn’t be more pleased to hear this news.

If you want to dig deeper on these two great events you can find the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce recap of the Portland Leadership Exchange HEREULI’s recap of the Fall Meeting HERE and videos of ULI presentations from the Fall Meeting HERE.

Open PhotoInsights from Helix principal, Jay Tomlinson Insights from Helix principal, Jay Tomlinson
Open PhotoMixed Use + Bike lanes. A great combo in PDX. Mixed Use + Bike lanes. A great combo in PDX.
Open PhotoFarm to table dinner with other KC leaders in PDX. Farm to table dinner with other KC leaders in PDX.
Open PhotoSan Francisco’s historic Pickwick Hotel is ALMOST as cool as KC’s. San Francisco’s historic Pickwick Hotel is ALMOST as cool as KC’s.

16 October, 2015 | Awards

Helix Brings Home Two Design Excellence Awards From AIA Central States Region

Each year the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Central States Region recognizes the most exceptional projects and firms throughout the five-state region at their annual Excellence in Design awards. The 2015 awards ceremony, hosted in Des Moines, Iowa, recognized the work of Helix Architecture + Design for two distinguished Kansas City institutions, the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) and Kansas City University (KCU). The renovation and expansion of the KCPD Headquarters was one of only three projects to receive the highest award, an Honor Award in the Architecture category. The KCU Academic Center received a Merit Award in the Interior Architecture category. AIA Central States received over two-hundred submissions from across the region.

“Although they each have their own unique mission, both KCPD and KCU are cornerstone institutions within the Kansas City community,” said Reeves Wiedeman, principal with Helix. “Their investment in these facilities reflects their commitment to creating a quality environment for the people they serve and their employees. We are extremely proud to see our work for both organizations recognized among the best architecture in the region.”

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.

Helix_KCPDHQ_11446_LR

Jury comments for the Police Headquarters included:

“A beautifully integrated new public face for the Kansas City Police Department uses a series of strong elements to create transparency and openness.”

“The appropriately scaled addition is organized under a hovering patterned, coffered concrete structural slab, giving the space a strong graphic element while providing daylighting and concealing utilities.”

HelixKCUMB_6772_HR

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.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the work we have done to create the most student-focused environment in the nation,” said Marc B. Hahn, DO, president and chief executive officer of KCU. “Helix Architecture + Design has been a true partner throughout this undertaking, as they understand the needs of our students and embrace our vision.”

Jury comments for the Academic Center included:

“Beautiful redesign of an underutilized lecture hall, expanding its utility significantly.”

“Clear distinction between upper and lower lecture halls is quite nice – plaster -vs- wood, but both relate to one-another and hold together as a unified project.”

“Details are quite beautiful – sweeping curves of the plaster work and craftsmanship of the wood liner.”

“Love the subtle innovation of having two rows per lecture hall tier to allow for small group discussions – great idea.”

HelixKCUMB_6625_LR

The 2015 AIA Central States design award jury was comprised of nationally recognized designers, including Jennifer Yoos, Principal at VJAA; William Baxley, Vice President and Director of Design at Leo A Daly; and Marc Swackhamer, Head + Associate Professor, School of Architecture, University of Minnesota. In order to be eligible for consideration projects had to be completed within that last five years and designed by an AIA Central States member or located in the five-state region, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

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


Helix Principal, Kristine Sutherlin Elected President of the Kansas City Architectural Foundation

Untitled-1

Congratulations to Helix principal, Kristine Sutherlin on being elected president of the Kansas City Architectural Foundation (KCAF) board. The organization has a tremendous impact on the Kansas City design community by granting scholarships to architectural students from the metropolitan area and hosting outreach events that educate citizens on the power of architecture to transform lives and improve the places where we live, learn, work, and play. Kristine has been involved with the organization since 2013 and recently finished a term as the organization’s vice president.

Since it was founded in 1984, KCAF has awarded more than 140 scholarships totaling over $250,000 to students from the Kansas City area. Over the next year the organization will be kicking off a capital campaign to increase the number and amount of student scholarships they provide.

Why is KCAF such an important organization for our community? We asked President Sutherlin herself.

“As college costs continue to escalate it is critical that we expand our reach within the design community. We want to make pursuing a career in architecture accessible for anyone that has a passion for this industry. Our scholarships have assisted some extraordinarily talented students and there is so much more that we can do as an industry to help support and train the next generation.”

Keep up the good work Kristine and thank you for helping to support young designers. We couldn’t be more proud to have you as one of the fearless leaders of our Helix family!


4 of 17« First...23456...10...Last »