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Kansas City University Breaks Ground on New Center for Medical Education Innovation

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU), one of the top 10 educators of physicians in the U.S., broke ground this morning on a new state-of-the-art Center for Medical Education Innovation (CMEI). Designed through a partnership between Helix Architecture + Design and CO Architects, the 56,000-square-foot facility will provide the latest in virtual reality, haptic technology and simulated clinical experiences for educating the next generation of physicians and health sciences professionals.

The $33 million facility will be built on four levels and will feature multifunctional “future-proof” space that will allow for changes and emerging technologies in the coming years. It will also serve as a resource for students and health care professionals throughout the region, offering opportunities for continuing medical education, inter-professional education and active research in academic collaboration.

The building will feature standardized patient rooms (where trained actors play the role of patients), high-fidelity simulation rooms (where medical robots display a variety of disease processes), a skills simulation deck that utilizes the latest in virtual reality and haptic technologies, and a simulation command center. It will also include nearly 13,000 square feet of classroom space and an advanced physical diagnosis and Osteopathic Manipulation Medicine.

“The CMEI will be much more than a building. It will redefine our campus, our neighborhood and the Kansas City medical community, just as the Center’s latest technology will redefine medical education,” commented Marc B. Hahn, DO, president and CEO of KCU. “Our students will have the opportunity to practice over and over in virtual scenarios until they are confident and prepared when it comes time to treat actual patients, thus reducing medical errors and improving health outcomes for the communities we serve.”

The University has collaborated with the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to build the CMEI center adjacent to the Paseo Gateway project, which will reconfigure the intersection of The Paseo and Independence Avenue to improve safety and traffic flow, as well as reestablish a grand entrance to the Northeast neighborhood.

The construction of the Center for Medical Education Innovation is possible in part because of a $1 million challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, a $1 million grant from William T. Kemper Foundation, and lead gifts from Sunderland Foundation, J. E. Dunn Construction Company, Victor E. Speas Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and Jack and Glenna Wylie Foundation. JE Dunn will serve as the general contractor for construction.

We are thrilled to continue our work with Kansas City University and our design partners at CO Architects to create a facility that puts the university on the forefront of health education.

Virtual tours are available online of the forum, simulation deck, standardized patient lounge and OMM loft.


28 March, 2018 | Academic, Awards, Multi-family

Two Helix Clients Honored at Kansas City Business Journal’s Capstone Awards

Across Helix’s diverse portfolio of work there is a common thread – creating spaces that have a positive impact on our community. Two projects that exemplify this approach will be recognized this evening at the Kansas City Business Journal’s Capstone Awards ceremony. The Capstone Awards celebrate projects that have demonstrated excellence in commercial real estate development over the past year.

Our clients at the University of Kansas Medical Center and Gold Crown Properties will be recognized for the new Health Education Building and redevelopment of the historic Pickwick Plaza, respectively. We are honored to work alongside both of these organizations to bring these impactful projects to life.

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS MEDICAL CENTER

Health Education Building – Community Impact Category

The new Health Education Building redefines health science education at the University of Kansas Medical Center and has national implications for interprofessional and interdisciplinary team learning. Serving students within the KU Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Professions, the building is the center of student life. The 170,000-square-feet structure includes a simulation center and flexible, state-of-the-art learning space to support new models of teaching. Technology-enhanced environments for experiential learning include: large learning studios, active classrooms, a medical simulation center, clinical skills labs, student lounges and study rooms.

Prominently located on the corner of 39th Street and Rainbow Boulevard, the building creates an iconic new gateway to campus designed through a partnership between Helix Architecture + Design and CO Architects. The large cantilevered glass cube highlights the medical simulation and clinical skills floors as the heart of the building, the essence of the medical education process. The design is inspired by key facets of the building’s purpose: connectivity, identity, a sustainable environment, and transparency.


GOLD CROWN PROPERTIES

East 9 at Pickwick Plaza – Multifamily Category

The Pickwick Plaza Hotel, built in 1930, was a downtown KC landmark and frequent retreat of President Harry S Truman. The massive 360,000-square-foot historic structure sat vacant and dilapidated for decades before Gold Crown Properties led the stunning transformation into one of downtown Kansas City’s most iconic mixed-use developments. Renamed East 9 at Pickwick Plaza, the structure now houses 260 apartment units, retail/commercial space, attached parking garage, fitness center, indoor saltwater pool, a stunning 2-story lobby, business center and private event rooms.

Using a detailed model created from historic documents, the Helix design team developed a plan for adaptively re-using  with minimal changes to the historic character-defining features. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed in accordance with National Park Service guidelines in order to receive historic tax credits.
Reactivating retail space on three sides of the building at street level has brought pedestrian activity to the street, while re-establishing the historic complex as a mixed-use destination.

The redevelopment of the building has received praise from city officials and developers from around the country. “This is the most amazing adaptive re-use I have ever seen,” said Jeffrey Weingart, vice president of UC Fund of Boston, an investor in the project. “We’ve done about $10 billion worth of real estate investment around the country, and this is, without question, magnificent. It’s hard to imagine what was here before.”

Congratulations to our clients and the teams of architects, designers, engineers, craftsmen and contractors that helped make each of these projects a reality.

You can see the full list of 2018 Capstone Award winners on the Kansas City Business Journal’s website.


27 February, 2018 | Academic, Art, Community

Meaningful Artwork at KUMC Draws Inspiration From History

As part of the new Health Education Building, the University of Kansas Medical Center commissioned art pieces for the space, asking artists to draw inspiration from their Clendening History of Medicine Library. The library is one of the nation’s finest collections of rare, historical medical books, as well as an extensive collection of monographs and periodicals in the history of medicine, medical humanities and biomedical ethics. Six artists were selected for works in the building.

The ground level corridor on the southside of the building was an incredible opportunity for artwork, spanning a remarkable 125 feet. The hallway features Des Emplastres et Des Compresses, by artist Marcie Miller Gross. Marcie was inspired by the distinct, elegant forms of the compresses, plasters and bandages illustrated in Cours d’operations de chirurgie, a rare surgical manual found in the library. The shapes were informed by the specific types of incisions made by the surgeon and evoke the topography of the body. These elemental forms are familiar, abstract and poetic in their simplicity.

CAPTION: Reference: Dionis, Pierre. Cours d’operations de chirurgie: demonstrees au Jardin royal. Paris, Chez Laurent D’Houry, rue saint Severin, au St Esprit, vi-s-vis la rue Zacharie: 1707. Held at the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.


Creating this series for the university held great meaning for Marcie. Her father received his medical degree from the university in 1948 and was a professor of surgery at KU until 1973. Marcie’s husband, Helix principal Bryan Gross, was the senior project architect on the building and spent three years on the Health Education Building.

Marcie’s work has been exhibited in institutions and galleries throughout the Midwest and internationally and is held in public and private collections. She has lived in Kansas City since receiving her Master of Fine Arts at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Kansas. Photography by E.G. Schempf.


12 December, 2017 | Academic, Art, New Construction

KCAI Chooses Helix Architecture + Design to Design Student Living Center

From left to right: Alissa Wehmueller, Tony Jones, Doug Stockman, Christopher Carvell.

The Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) announced today that they have chosen Helix to design a new 250-bed student living center and dining hall to be built on campus starting next year. The opportunity to construct a new hall of residence is possible thanks to a $10 million lead gift by an anonymous donor, given through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation earlier this year.

For the KCAI student housing project, Helix partnered with consulting architect, Christopher Carvell Architects of Denver, Colo. Carvell has developed nationally recognized expertise in the design of “Next Generation” student life facilities.

This is a complicated project that includes not only the new 250-bed living center but also contemporary dining that will be open to the public and a large new terraced garden. “Following interviews with several firms, Helix presented a sophisticated plan on how to create a relationship between the new student living center, the new garden space and our current student housing building. The result will be a thoughtful design that takes into consideration the needs of our students, while respecting our historic Rockhill and Southmoreland neighborhoods, and advancing the college’s extensive landscape plan,” said Tony Jones, The Nerman Family President.  

Reeves Wiedeman, founding principal with Helix Architecture + Design said, “KCAI’s new student housing project will be a beacon for attracting talent to the campus and our city. It is an honor to work alongside one of the country’s leading arts education institutions to redefine the student housing experience and create a space that nurtures the creativity of these young artists.”

KCAI is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with 13 studio majors. KCAI also offers continuing education courses. Founded in 1885, the college is Kansas City’s oldest arts organization.
Helix has worked with KCAI previously on the renovation of the Richard J. Stern Ceramics Building. We are thrilled to continue our relationship on this transformative project for incoming students and the campus.


Missouri State University Historic Renovation Merges Past and Present

For many, fall means back to school, but for Missouri State University, it also marks the beginning of construction on Hill Hall’s renovation.

At 92 years old, Hill Hall is one of the three original buildings on the campus’s historic quadrangle. Originally completed in 1924, the building carries a tremendous amount of history within its walls. Designed by President Clyde M. Hill, the Education Building is one of the most-widely copied designs in the United States.

From its early days as the Education Building to today, the exterior has stood the test of time. However, like most historic buildings, the interior environment no longer serves the university’s modern needs. Missouri State University knew they wanted a space that was flexible, reflected the building’s history, improved accessibility and created departmental adjacencies. Helix Architecture + Design was hired to assist the university with renovating this important structure.

Hill Hall is used by the College of Education and the Department of Psychology. Spaces for the multiple user groups were not adjacent to one another, but spread throughout the building, which made wayfinding and creating a true home-base for students a challenge. To ensure the renovated layout was easier to navigate, the Helix team worked with all user groups to develop a clear program for the space. They improved wayfinding throughout by increasing transparency, providing places for signage, locating core elements in the same location on each floor and improving departmental adjacencies. The new signage provided opportunities to highlight each group’s identity as well.

One of the biggest challenges that came with renovating the space was improving accessibility. The existing building did not provide a clear path for all building users, which made getting to and from class difficult. Creating an accessible route required connecting the entrances on the first floors with a series of ramps, but this key change will make the first floor area more open, connected, inviting and accessible for all visitors.

Both the School of Education and the Department of Psychology also wanted to make the building more student-centric. The existing building offered very few places for students to gather, study, relax or socialize. The Helix team was able to create a specific space for this, playfully located in an old pool that had been converted into a storage areaand was underutilized for decades. The new plans include a lounge space, computer labs and small study rooms. This space greatly enhances the building by allowing students to gather outside of the classroom to study, collaborate and better utilize technology resources.

Faculty also wanted to make their offices more welcoming and conducive to meeting with students. This meant creating places that were easier to find and more approachable. To ensure the completed space can evolve along with faculty needs, the new offices allow for growth and change, without focusing on hierarchy. Classrooms also provide flexibility for faculty to modify the rooms as pedagogy and technology continually evolves.

Preserving the historical elements of Hill Hall was important to the entire team. The original central circulation stair that connects the floors was maintained, along with the original terrazzo floors in many areas.

With construction underway, Hill Hall will offer new benefits to students and faculty just in time for the 2018 school year. Improved accessibility, the addition of social/study spaces and the reorganized layout deliver a student-centric design, while still honoring the building’s historic past.


26 October, 2017 | Academic, Awards, Renovation

DEKC2017 | Award-Winning Transformation of an Underutilized Space for Kansas City University

In anticipation of their annual Design Excellence Awards being hosted on November 10th, AIA Kansas City is spotlighting the award winning projects from 2016.

Helix was honored to bring home three awards last year, including an “Honor Award” in the Interior Architecture category for the  Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences (KCU) Academic Center.

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 has also received a “Merit Award” for Interior Architecture at AIA Central States 2015 Excellence in Design Awards, Best in Show and a Gold Award in the Higher Education + Research Category at International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Mid America Design Awards (MADA), a Capstone Award in the Community Impact Category from the Kansas City Business Journal and was a Finalist in the Redevelopment Category at the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation’s Cornerstone Awards.

In addition to having a visionary client who brought an unwavering commitment to creating an exceptional space for their students, we had a tremendous construction partner in McCownGordon Construction. Together, along with our engineering team, we were able to achieve a fast-track schedule and meet the client’s budget while delivering award-winning design.

Photography by Michael Robinson.


15 May, 2017 | Academic, Thought Leadership

Missouri State University Historic Renovation Merges Past and Present

For many, fall means back to school, but for Missouri State University, it also marks the beginning of construction on Hill Hall’s renovation.

At 92 years old, Hill Hall is one of the three original buildings on the campus’s historic quadrangle. Originally completed in 1924, the building carries a tremendous amount of history within its walls. Designed by President Clyde M. Hill, the Education Building is one of the most-widely copied designs in the United States.

From its early days as the Education Building to today, the exterior has stood the test of time. However, like most historic buildings, the interior environment no longer serves the university’s modern needs. Missouri State University knew they wanted a space that was flexible, reflected the building’s history, improved accessibility and created departmental adjacencies. Helix Architecture + Design was hired to assist the university with renovating this important structure.

Hill Hall is used by the College of Education and the Department of Psychology. Spaces for the multiple user groups were not adjacent to one another, but spread throughout the building, which made wayfinding and creating a true home-base for students a challenge. To ensure the renovated layout was easier to navigate, the Helix team worked with all user groups to develop a clear program for the space. They improved wayfinding throughout by increasing transparency, providing places for signage, locating core elements in the same location on each floor and improving departmental adjacencies. The new signage provided opportunities to highlight each group’s identity as well.

One of the biggest challenges that came with renovating the space was improving accessibility. The existing building did not provide a clear path for all building users, which made getting to and from class difficult. Creating an accessible route required connecting the entrances on the first floors with a series of ramps, but this key change will make the first floor area more open, connected, inviting and accessible for all visitors.

Both the School of Education and the Department of Psychology also wanted to make the building more student-centric. The existing building offered very few places for students to gather, study, relax or socialize. The Helix team was able to create a specific space for this, playfully located in an old pool that had been converted into a storage areaand was underutilized for decades. The new plans include a lounge space, computer labs and small study rooms. This space greatly enhances the building by allowing students to gather outside of the classroom to study, collaborate and better utilize technology resources.

Faculty also wanted to make their offices more welcoming and conducive to meeting with students. This meant creating places that were easier to find and more approachable. To ensure the completed space can evolve along with faculty needs, the new offices allow for growth and change, without focusing on hierarchy. Classrooms also provide flexibility for faculty to modify the rooms as pedagogy and technology continually evolves.

Preserving the historical elements of Hill Hall was important to the entire team. The original central circulation stair that connects the floors was maintained, along with the original terrazzo floors in many areas.

With construction underway, Hill Hall will offer new benefits to students and faculty just in time for the 2018 school year. Improved accessibility, the addition of social/study spaces and the reorganized layout deliver a student-centric design, while still honoring the building’s historic past.


17 April, 2017 | Academic, Art, Renovation

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.


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