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

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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!


25 September, 2015 | Helix People, Leadership, Recognition

Katie’s “Magic” ARE Formula

CROWLEY Katie

Our licensed architects are multiplying here at Helix and we can barely keep up with sharing the news! We are excited to announce that another one of team members, Katie Crowley, is officially a licensed architect. What does that mean? It means that Katie passed the grueling seven-part Architectural Registration Exam (ARE), logged all the necessary Intern Development Program (IDP) hours, and can now officially call herself an architect.

Did we mention Katie is only four years out of school? She graduated from the University of Kansas is 2011 before joining Helix in 2013. Over the last year she has been working on the adaptive reuse of the 301 E. Armour building into multi-family residential apartments and the renovation of the James C. Olson Performing Arts Theater for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and UMKC. She was also recently selected for AIA Kansas City’s 2015-2016 class of the Pillars Leadership Program. She’s a bit of a dynamo.

We asked Katie to share her secret to success and what’s next.

Q: Any weird study habits?
A:  Flashcards + Coffee = The Magic Formula.  I became a regular at many coffee shops! By the end of it I started to get a lot of looks and comments from other regulars. They were all thinking, “Really you’re studying for another one!”

Q: While taking the exams, did you find that you have a favorite subject matter?
A: Surprisingly, I got really interested in learning about contract documents and the project management side of architecture.

Q: Any favorite pump up music or playlists?
A: I think I had a different Spotify playlist for every exam.  The playlists had a mix of every genre of song you could think of (variety was the key to keeping me awake during many late nights).  But, when things got really tough I could always rely on a good old school 90’s playlist!

Q: What do you plan on doing with all your extra free time now that you aren’t studying for your exams?
A: I love to train and run half marathons so I hope to find time to do more races.  Running a race through Napa is top of my list 🙂

Q: Any words of encouragement for other architects who are currently studying for and/or taking their AREs?
A:  Just keep going!  All of the tests seem really overwhelming and are a lot of work, but it is totally worth it.

There you have it! 90’s music, flash cards, and the promise of a half marathon through Napa. Congratulations, Katie! We are so proud.

 


23 September, 2015 | Helix People

What if we’re meant for each other?

Helix is looking for an interior designer. As a designer at Helix you’ll be assisting on all phases of workplace, higher education, hospitality and historic renovation/preservation projects. Interested in joining our people? We’d love to hear from you. Read more about the position on our careers page and send us your resume at resume@helixkc.com for immediate consideration.


KCPD Renovation + Expansion

Helix_KCPDHQ_ExtDet_0219_LRHelix had the privilege of working with the Kansas City Police Department and City of Kansas City, Missouri on the recent renovation and expansion of their downtown Police Headquarters. The renovation was designed to re-position the facility for another 70-years of service to the community, and to do so while respecting the character of the historic structure.

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An important goal of this project was to increase transparency and expand Police interaction with the community. This involved extensive changes to the first floor including a monumental public lobby, unobtrusive security, and the addition of a large community meeting space.

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Beyond addressing space requirements, the Police Department wanted to create a welcoming first impression for visitors, and a facility suited for collaboration, efficiency, team-building, and celebration. Central to the design, too, was the need to communicate the Department’s rich history of community service. The new addition on the ground floor allows the public to engage in the Board of Police Commissioners meetings and serves as a venue for Police community outreach programming.

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The renovation addresses many years of deferred maintenance and features energy saving and water conservation strategies. Increased indoor air quality, natural light, and accessible routes provide a modern workplace for the Police and equal access for the public.

The project scope also included repairing the core and shell of the building – including exterior masonry restoration, building envelope improvements, window and roof replacement, streetscape design and systems upgrades. The systems upgrades are housed in an addition to the north of the historic structure, which increased useable space within the historic structure.

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The city’s commitment to LEED guided design decisions toward sustainable solutions. Anticipated to receive LEED Gold certification, sustainability features include: re-use of existing building materials, integration of efficient HVAC systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, daylighting and efficient lighting, and a green roof.

Images by Micheal Robinson Photography

 

 


Centurions Class of 2017

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce recently announced the Centurions Class of 2017 including Helix principal, Alissa Wehmueller. Anyone that has met Alissa through her involvement in IIDA, Kansas City Design Week, the Mayor’s Challenge Cabinet or her many other community activities know firsthand the passion she has for Kansas City.

Where does her love of this fine city come from? We asked Alissa.

You’re not from KC originally – what has kept you here?
Marrying a handsome KC native! Honestly, when I moved here I didn’t necessarily know if it was a long-term decision. But the growth and changes that have happened in this community in the last decade have been remarkable to see and be a part of. Kansas City is a great size – this balance between the amenities of a large city and the values of a small town. I believe your happiness in a place depends on what you put into it.

Who is a KC leader you admire?
Mayor Sly James! He’s brought an approachability and energy to City Hall that’s really special. I’ve seen him crash a table of designers at happy hour and have a quiet breakfast with friends at Union Station early in the morning – he’s present. I find myself bragging about how cool our mayor is to people outside Kansas City (not cool – frosty!) This has to be a fun time to be leading Kansas City, I’m sure it’s very hard work but I hope he’s enjoying it.

Why did you want to join the Centurions program?  
As my husband and I deepen our roots here, through our home, our careers and our family, I want this city to thrive and I feel a responsibility to contribute. I feel really lucky to be part of an industry that literally gets to build our community – create buildings and spaces for the people working, learning and playing here. I want to be educated and informed about the city, our needs, challenges and goals. I’m looking to Centurions to learn the best way to get engaged with organizations in a valuable way – I don’t want to fill a seat on a board to keep a chair warm, I want to help.

What do you hope to gain from the program?
Centurions has been tagged a ‘Master’s degree in Kansas City’, I like thinking of it that way. Everyone I know that has participated in the program has been very honest – it’s a big time commitment and a lot of work – but they’ve also said it’s one of the most rewarding things they’ve done personally and professionally.

Any advice for fellow transplants to KC?
Be present in the city – attend new events, get out to Kauffman, wake up early and get to the farmer’s market, wander around the plaza, get to know your neighbors. Bloom where you’re planted.

From all of us at Helix, congratulations and cheers, Alissa!

 


University of Kansas Medical Center celebrates ceremonial groundbreaking of Health Education Building

View From SouthWest

The University of Kansas Medical Center ceremonially broke ground Thursday on a $75 million Health Education Building designed by Helix Architecture + Design in association with CO Architects. Leaders from the University of Kansas and KU Medical Center were joined by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, philanthropic donors and other dignitaries for the ceremony.

Interior View

The 171,000-square-foot Health Education Building will serve as the primary teaching facility for the KU schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions and will include significant simulation space and flexible, state-of-the-art learning space to support interprofessional education and other new models of teaching.

“This facility will change the way we educate and train physicians, nurses and other health care workers for Kansas,” said Douglas A. Girod, M.D., executive vice chancellor of KU Medical Center. “It will allow us to accelerate our university’s move toward a modern health education curriculum that emphasizes small group, interdisciplinary problem-solving and advanced patient simulation technology.”

View From NorthWest

You can learn more about the project and follow construction progress on the project website: http://www.kumc.edu/kumc-leadership/health-education-building.html

 

 


16 July, 2015 | Community Outreach

Placemaking at Barney Allis Plaza

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The people who brought you The Fiery Stick and the Midnight Underground are back… and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it!  LiveKC – whose mission is to make Kansas City a more attractive place for Millennials to live, work and play – has a new ambition this summer: “Wage war with the couches of Kansas City, and disrupt the commuter culture of Kansas City”.

How do they plan on doing this? By “bringing together remarkable design, unexpected amenities and regular programs that transform the Barney Allis Plaza ‘Public Space’ into a ‘Place’”.  A place that LiveKC refers to as The Backyard.

The goal of placemaking is to create public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being. LiveKC has already hosted various community events and charrettes, getting input and feedback from the downtown community along the way. The next steps for The Backyard team includes introducing temporary design solutions, allowing for the plaza to become a testing grounds for various configurations, programs, and events.  Doing so will help inform future design decisions and master planning for the plaza.

LiveKC has teamed up with local partners including Helix, HNTB, and KCDC to help bring the future vision of Barney Allis Plaza to life. Things to look forward to this summer include new outdoor furniture additions, regular activities (leisure sports leagues and fitness classes), and large event concepts. We may have even heard someone say “Pong Fest”.

To stay up-to-date on weekly events, follow LiveKC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


14 July, 2015 | Thought Leadership

Noteworthy at Neocon | Andie’s Top Five

For Helix’s interior designers, summer typically includes a quick trip to Chicago for the industry’s largest convention, Neocon. Held at the Merchandise Mart, the event is attended by 50,000 architecture and design professionals from around the world. Many of the large manufacturers we work with regularly have large showrooms, reinventing themselves each year for Neocon to show off their latest products. Each year we leave inspired by the latest products and trends. Here are a few favorite takeaways from this year….

1. Patricia Urquiola
Hands-down the most memorable part of Neocon 2015 (other than the torrential rain) was attending the keynote lecture of international star designer and architect, Patricia Urquiola. She is a passionate, charismatic, innovative force of nature. Her work is experiential; the objects and spaces she creates are sensitive to the emotional and mental needs of humans while being beautiful, playful, and immersive. She is prolific, designing dozens of new pieces with her various collaborators this year alone. And she deals great advice: “Only work with people you like” and “Get out of your comfort zone”, to name a few. Above all else, she is an exemplary role model for young women, working moms in particular. She has found a way to balance a brilliant career with a strong home life by building her design studio and residence in the same space. See photos HERE. Want more eye candy? Take a look at her book, Time to Make a Book, or the Haworth showroom she designed. I’m in love!

2. Wellness
Wellness is center-stage in the design world now. Similar to the growing prominence of sustainability over the past decade, designers, researchers, and health advocates alike are beginning to realize that the well-being of individuals, communities, businesses, and the environment are all inextricably linked. There are now design guidelines and data galore to support the value of investing in wellness. I attended a fire-in-the-seat-of-your-pants sort of presentation called Ethonomics: Design for Health & Well-being, that took a look at how our built environment (and design decisions) can affect cities and communities at the macro level, workplace culture and business vitality and the building level, down to the mental, emotional, and physical health of the individual at the micro level. Not only should our spaces be beautiful and functional, they should be restorative and supportive too! Check out these great resources for more information:

Teknion – The Rise of Ethonomics
The Well Building Standard
New York City Active Design Guidelines – promoting physical activity and health in design
The 1% – Strengthening Nonprofits through design

3.  Blurring lines between home & work
One of our favorite retail home furnishing brands, West Elm Workspace has launched a commercial line of office furniture in collaboration with Inscape.  It’s hard to say what sort of market impact this will have, but as the trend of blending workplace and home continues, this emerging development makes a lot of sense. The new line includes four collections: Mid-Century, Modern, Industrial, and Contemporary. The Contemporary collection is most similar to what most other office furniture companies offer; the Mid-Century and Modern collections offer the warmth of rich wood tones with stream-lined design; and the Industrial is the most original, taking the charm of an industrial 100-year old warehouse and translating it into plain sawn oak with steel frame.

4. Vitra’s Flexible workplace
Three times a day Vitra staff transformed the showroom in choreographed rhythm, literally, as they dance partied the furniture into various configurations to support education, work, and hospitality settings. On top of the energetic blast of beats pulsing through the space, they also had funky fresh usable furniture, a groovy analog adjustable height plywood workstation, and enough real live greens around every bend, making this fairly basic, windowless showroom electric with good vibes. Always an inspiration! See the beautiful showroom HERE.

5. Sophisticated palettes with a human touch
The most stunning showrooms (in my opinion of course) were simple, stately, and dramatic in their elegance. Davis and Coalesse embodied the restorative, calming traits of designing for wellness with warm wood, clean stone, nubby neutrals, and the dramatic impact of black and white with minimal color accents. In the past, it’s been white showrooms with colors that punch you in the face every time you turn a corner. This year, the design spoke for itself, was gentle and thoughtful, and created space in your brain for things other than stimulation overload.

 

Open PhotoChicago (pre-torrential rain)  |  home of Neocon Chicago (pre-torrential rain) | home of Neocon
Patricia Urquiola, Neocon 2015 Keynote Speaker Patricia Urquiola, Neocon 2015 Keynote Speaker
Open PhotoQuote from Quote from "Ethonomics: Design for Health & Well-being" presentation
West Elm Workspace - Industrial Collection West Elm Workspace - Industrial Collection
Vitra's showroom transformation performance crew Vitra's showroom transformation performance crew
Open PhotoDetail shot of the Detail shot of the "Tix" bench at the Davis showroom

7 July, 2015 | Renovation

If Walls Could Talk

It’s no secret that we love old buildings. So when our design team was presented with fifteen stories of ornate details, unparalleled views, and some of the richest history in downtown Kansas City, we were beyond excited.  As we’ve learned, every renovation provides a chance to not only breathe new life into a space, but connect people to its history and uncover some pretty amazing stories along the way. The Baltimore Club Renovation was no exception.

Built in 1920, the 15-story building was originally created as the home of the Kansas City Club, a private gentlemen’s club established in 1882. The building was designed by local architect, Charles A. Smith, and included a large dining room, several bars, meeting rooms, a banquet hall, athletic facilities, an indoor pool, and a rooftop terrace. Situated on the floors between these amenities were six stories of guestrooms, which have now been converted into rentable lofts. The building remained the Kansas City Club’s clubhouse until 2001 when it merged with the University Club and moved to a nearby downtown building.

DID YOU KNOW?
Notable members of the Kansas City Club have included Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Omar Bradley, and political boss Tom Pendergast.

Appearing on the National Register of Historic Places, the original 1920s structure  is a stunning example of elaborate, gothic Tudor detailing and old-world craftsmanship. The building features a limestone and brick exterior with terracotta detailing, while the interior showcases the original hand-hewn walnut, carved stone, and ornate plaster.

When the Helix design team was tasked with reinvigorating 40,000 square feet of event space, we knew we had to pay homage to the building’s history, while bringing the space up to modern, functional standards. Helix designed the project in accordance with preservation guidelines and received both state and federal historic tax credits.

Renovation of  the luxury event spaces on the 1st-6th floors, included restoration and updates to the original Lobby, Press Room, Tudor Room, Walnut Room, and Library. The project also included the complete renovation of the 15th floor, which had been converted to apartments in 2002, and the addition of an outdoor terrace that offers 180-degree views in downtown Kansas City. Operable glass walls between the terrace and the interior provide a remarkable indoor-outdoor experience. A key design feature within the space is a custom-designed trellis ceiling, made from painted, 3/16” aluminum – reminiscent of the original ceiling design.

DID YOU KNOW?
The 15th floor event space was once an open roof garden and terrace, and was referred to as “Just the place for a cooling drink in tinkling glasses.” As members of the Kansas City Club were quoted saying, “the stars will be at our fingertips.”

The Helix team has been thrilled to work with the Baltimore Club, transforming this historic landmark into a new-era event space.  We look forward to continuing to watch the history of the building become enriched by those who experience it. Cheers!

For more information, including renovation progress photos, historic images, and event space inquiries, follow The Baltimore Club on Facebook and Instagram.

Open PhotoThe Kansas City Club in the 1930s The Kansas City Club in the 1930s
Open PhotoForemens Safety Meeting - Kansas City Club, January 28,1937 Foremens Safety Meeting - Kansas City Club, January 28,1937
Open PhotoThe 15th Floor Roof Bar - complete with custom aluminum trellis ceiling and corrugated brass bar front. The 15th Floor Roof Bar - complete with custom aluminum trellis ceiling and corrugated brass bar front.
Open PhotoSchematic elevation drawing of the 15th floor trellis design. Schematic elevation drawing of the 15th floor trellis design.
Open Photo“The Roof Garden had been extremely popular for members and their guests, and in September 1954, the Board approved a total expenditure of $300,000 to enclose the Roof. Plans were announced in the June 5th, 1955 edition of the Kansas City Star. The Grand Opening of the Starlight Roof took place on February 8th, 1956. Over 600 members were in attendance at the opening of the Starlight Roof atop the Kansas City Club.” “The Roof Garden had been extremely popular for members and their guests, and in September 1954, the Board approved a total expenditure of $300,000 to enclose the Roof. Plans were announced in the June 5th, 1955 edition of the Kansas City Star. The Grand Opening of the Starlight Roof took place on February 8th, 1956. Over 600 members were in attendance at the opening of the Starlight Roof atop the Kansas City Club.”

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