Browsing Art

19 June, 2018 | Art, Community, New Construction

Artwork Integrates Community into KCPD Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

How do you translate traditional quilt-work into a building facade? Collaborating with renowned fabric artist Sonie Joi Thompson-Ruffin was one of the most rewarding aspects of our work at the KCPD Leon Mercer Jordan Campus, home of the East Patrol and Regional Crime Lab.

As part of KC’s long-standing One Percent for Art Program, and the larger goal of creating a police station where the neighboring community felt welcome, the Helix team collaborated with Sonie to design and install an architectural interpretation of her African American quilt-work. From here, Community Dignity and iNeema were created.

Community Dignity represents the connection between the police and the neighboring community, measuring 30-feet by 16.5-feet. While iNeema, meaning Grace in Swahili, offers a message of inner peace, measuring at 42-feet by 11-feet.

Once the final designs were selected, our design team began translating Sonié’s concepts in architectural terms, in this case glazed brick. Our team then developed construction documents, which were later used by masons to build each quilt pattern. These brick and mortar quilts are prominently displayed at the entrances of both the police station and crime lab, connecting the police to the community they serve each day.

Completed project photography by Aaron Dougherty.


3 April, 2018 | Art, Crossroads, Culture

Prominent Kansas City muralist Sike Style completes work in two Helix projects

Phil Shafer, also known as Sike Style, is a graphic artist and muralist who has worked with clients ranging from local institutions like the Kansas City Royals, to cultural events and corporate clients like Middle of the Map Festival and Valorem Consulting. Phil’s upbringing in Brooklyn during the golden era of graffiti and hip-hop culture had a profound impact on his life as an artist and helped define the roots of his style.

“Public art is important to me because it allows me to give back to the community through my talents. My goal is to transform bland or vandalized surfaces into murals that uplift and inspire the neighborhood residents,” Phil says of his work, which can be found all over the streets of Kansas City (literally).

Helix has had the pleasure of collaborating with him on a few of our recent projects.

The City Gym location that recently opened inside of the renovated Pickwick building features a large welcoming vibrant hand-painted mural. The piece depicts the historic facade of Pickwick and bus – reminiscent of the former bus depot that the building is known for. He completed four additional murals onsite: one in the spin class room, one located in the parking garage on a historic brick wall and two directional signage pieces in the stairwell.

The Tropicana Paleteria inside the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Health Education Building features Phil’s work throughout the entire space. This was the first time Phil designed a mural digitally, printed it on high grade wallpaper and installed the work on location. His work brings a vibrancy to any space it inhabits, and we love seeing his work come to life inside these Helix projects. See more of his work on his website, or follow him on instagram @sikestyle.

Photography courtesy of Sike Style Industries.


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.


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.


3 November, 2016 | Art, New Construction

Kansas City Police Department Builds Community Through New Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

The Leon Mercer Jordan Campus, located at the corner of 27th and Prospect, serves as so much more than the East Patrol Division Station for Kansas City Police Department and the new Regional Crime Lab. The new campus, completed in spring 2016, is already having an impact for neighboring citizens by integrating spaces that foster relationships between KCPD and residents.

Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

The campus represents an unprecedented investment in the Third District of Kansas City, Missouri, which since it’s opening has encouraged further development in the neighborhood and made a difference in the lives of many. The East Patrol Division Station houses a large community room, computer access lab and gymnasium specifically designed for public use – the vision of Police Chief Darryl Forté.

“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.” Chief Forté told the Kansas City Star.

For one youth basketball team, that meant a dream come true. The team of 8th graders were able to move from an outdated half-court practice space into a brand new facility (not to mention a full-court all to themselves!) The community room is already being used in so many ways, most recently book club meetings and a veteran breakfast.

Gymnasium at Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

East Patrol Art in ArchitectureLeft: Sculpture by Des Moines, IA artist David Dahlquist features pottery thrown by local youths. Volunteers from the Kansas City Art Institute and the KC Clay Guild assisted the teens in creating the large thrown bowls. Right: “Community Dignity” glazed brick art installation by Sonie Joi Thompson-Ruffin.

The design also incorporated several art pieces, two of which are located at the entrances of both the East Patrol Division Station and the Crime Lab facilities. The installations are architectural interpretations of artwork created by local artist Sonie Joi Thompson-Ruffin. The pieces, called Community Dignity (shown above right) and iNeema (located on the Crime Lab building), are inspired by American and African culture. Helix worked with Mrs. Ruffin to incorporate her art into the detailing of two glazed masonry feature walls, creating a visual of “quilts” on the front porches of these two campus buildings.

The large stand-alone piece outside the main public entrance of East Patrol Division Station is a result of Kansas City’s One Percent for Art program; artist David Dahlquist involved local youths and neighbors in its creation (shown above left).

“It’s asking the community to be invested in it,” artist David Dahlquist said in a press release put out by ArtsTech – a nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering young people through arts and technical education. “The piece is about something peaceful, contemplative.”

20160425-dougherty-076-eastpatrol-sAbove: Large community room features a wooden wall made from trees harvested on the site of the building; the opposite wall displays a timeline highlighting the history of African-American police officers. The exhibit was designed by Dimensional Innovations.

Above: The public computer room is open to local schoolchildren, families and community members without internet access or computers at home. The lab features artwork by ArtsTech’s Aaron Sutton. Above: The public computer room is open to local schoolchildren, families and community members without internet access or computers at home. The lab features artwork by ArtsTech’s Aaron Sutton.

The new campus is anticipated to be a redevelopment catalyst for the Prospect Avenue Corridor and its surrounding neighborhoods. City Architect Eric Bosch said this unprecedented investment in the Third District of Kansas City and this neighborhood has already been reflected positively in other recent projects in the community area.

“The city is already working on a new grocery store just seven or eight blocks away, which the neighborhood never really had before,” Bosch stated in a post on KCPD’s SaferKC blog. “They’re also putting in an express bus line going right in front of the station, which will allow more connectivity to other public transportation throughout the city. The church next door to us is also expanding through the development of a community center, and it’s the timing of our facility that made that happen.”

KCPD Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

Another key aspect of the project is the way it improves efficiency for everyone who will use the facility, including police officers, employees and the general public.

“The old station was too small and the layout did not allow for the most effective operation,” Major Sharon Laningham, Construction Division of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department said on SaferKC.com. “We learned from nearly 20 years of experience of how police stations work. The new station is more efficient, officers move through their routines quickly and get out on the street faster. 

The state-of-the-art Regional Crime Lab and the Property Evidence Depository were meticulously programmed to allow for a more efficient working environment for lab teams and other crime lab staff too. The new Crime Lab, a collaboration between Helix and Wellner Architects, is also better located to collect crime scene evidence and be in closer proximity to the Courts, saving time and money for the KCPD. 

KCPD Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

“By combining several critical capital improvement projects on one campus, we achieve economies of scale and use the Public Safety Sales Tax dollars in the most prudent way possible,” said former Colonel Jerry Gallagher of the Kansas City Police Department.

The project is considered a successful model for achieving and exceeding the city’s goals for minority business participation throughout the planning, design and construction process. Helix along with the City of Kansas City, Missouri and joint venture contractors JE Dunn and Alexander Mechanical, were proud to exceed the minority business enterprise (MBE) and women business enterprise (WBE) goals.

The project surpassed these goals, achieving to date:

  • MBE/WBE participation for professional service contracts = 40%
  • MBE/WBE participation for construction services = 30%
  • Section 3 participation for construction services = 16.6%
  • Overall MBE/WBE/Section 3 participation on the East Patrol Crime Lab = more than 52%
  • Overall Section 3 New Hires = 101

 

It’s clear to see the significance of this project by the amount of recognition it’s receiving – a KCBJ Capstone Award and an EDC Cornerstone Award.

All photography by Aaron Dougherty.


29 July, 2016 | Academic, Art, Hospitality, Renovation

Designing Spaces that Nurture the Arts: Renovation of the Olson Performing Arts Center for the KCRep & UMKC

There is a reason that Kansas City consistently ranks among the top cities in the country for the arts; as a city, we invest in the people and places that are nurturing creative talent. At Helix, we are proud that we have been able to work with some of the city’s top arts and cultural organizations to create spaces that inspire, serve and engage patrons and artists alike.

Helix, KC Rep, Kansas City MORecently, this includes the $6.5 million renovation and expansion of the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC). Located on the UMKC campus, the newly renovated building gives both organizations a home that showcases the talented artists that it serves.

“We’ve really made it into one of the most beautiful (regional) theaters, from what had been a really dated 1979 building,” Eric Rosen, the Kansas City Rep’s artistic director shared with KCUR at the building’s ribbon cutting. “Now we have a building that matches the quality and caliber of of the national work that we put on our stage here at Spencer.”

Helix, KC Rep, Kansas City MO

The Helix design team placed a strong emphasis on not only technical needs for the theatre itself, but the overall patron experience. The renovation included an expansion of the lobby, substantial improvements to the Spencer Theatre performance space, an expanded patron lounge, new ADA compliant restrooms and expanded concessions.

If you haven’t been to a performance in the new space yet, here’s a sneak peak at the transformation.

Spencer Theatre Improvements at UMKCImprovements within the performance space, including a new stage, lighting, acoustics and seats, enhance the experience for both patrons and performers.

Before & After of the Olson Performing Arts Center at UMKC Lobby

The expanded lobby features a centrally located bar, a variety of seating options and additional space for patrons to socialize before shows and during intermission.

Before & After of Olson Performing Arts Center at UMKC

Exterior renovations and the expanded lobby creates a stronger identity for UMKC and the KCRep while enhancing the building’s presence on campus.

The outcome is an environment that celebrates the arts while setting the stage for an experience that is much more than just a show. We highly recommend experiencing the space yourself at an upcoming performance. The KCRep’s 2016-2017 season starts September 9 with “Evita.” UMKC’s theatre department posts their full season of shows on their website.

Photography by Michael Robinson.


11 May, 2016 | Art, In Progress, Renovation

What is Your Creative Spark?

On Friday night, Helix hosted the design debut of Kansas City Young Audiences‘ new location in Midtown Kansas City. The evening featured good food, great friends and performances from the true inspiration behind the project – the talented KCYA students. These young artists filled our office with music and covered our whiteboards with murals, demonstrating first hand the impact that KCYA has had in shaping their creative spirit.

KCYA

As an organization that has an unwavering commitment to arts education, KCYA believes that every child deserves the creative spark that the arts ignite – we couldn’t agree more. For fun, we asked guests (kids and adults, alike) to share their own creative spark that inspired their passion for the arts. The responses ranged from people, to places and experiences.

“My grandma – the very best storyteller ever!”

“I played the brown cow in the first grade play and fell in love with performing”

“My father who showed me how to build, construct and schedule with Legos, then wood tree houses, then houses”

“Dancing in my underwear to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture as a toddler”

“My elementary school art teacher, who is still one of my greatest inspirations.”

“I saw the Wizard of Oz at Starlight when I was 6 and knew that I wanted to be on stage”

We are unbelievably proud that the building we are designing will help KCYA expand their programming and their reach so that they can nurture the creative spark in even more children throughout Kansas City.

IMG_1192_cropped

KCYA  purchased and will be renovating the building at 3732 Main Street in the heart of Midtown Kansas City to be the organization’s first permanent home in its 55 years in operation. The building’s location offers increased visibility, a central location for youths across the metro and the opportunity to build upon the continued revitalization happening along Main Street.

“Our new location will enable us to further our mission of providing transformational arts experiences to children from across the city, particularly children in the urban community” said Qiana Thomason, KCYA Board President.

Design

The design for the 18,000 sq. ft. space was on display for guests at Friday’s event. It features a flexible interior environment that will serve the educational, workplace, event and performance functions of the organization. The new space will include dance studios, a multi-purpose classroom for art and theatre classes, a mixed-use performance and event space as well as offices for the staff.

“Purchasing a new home for KCYA is very exciting, but more importantly this new home will allow us to engage more children in the arts, providing them with opportunities to discover new ways of seeing things and expressing themselves. We are looking forward to the day when our home is filled with children singing, dancing, acting, drawing and creating,” said Martin English, KCYA Executive Director.

kcya

Construction is anticipated to begin in July and KCYA will move into the new space by the end of 2016. The first acting, dance and music classes will begin in early 2017.  McCown Gordon Construction is providing construction management services.

The Kansas City Star and KCUR recently published great articles on the project and we look forward to sharing updates on this transformative project as it moves forward.

More information on KCYA and their mission to engage all youth in the arts, promote creativity, and inspire success in education can be found on their website.


23 September, 2014 | Art, Awards, Design, New Construction

Helix | HGA Team are Awarded UMKC Conservatory Project!

We are honored and excited to be selected with HGA to create a new home for the UMKC Downtown Conservatory of Music and Dance in the Kansas City Crossroads.  This is a monumental time for UMKC and the Kansas City community, and we are very eager to collaborate with all on this landmark project.  The design charrette process that took us to this point was intensive and many schemes for the building were explored, including the rendering shown at the right.

 

 

 

Open PhotoHelix welcomes UMKC to the KC Crossroads! Helix welcomes UMKC to the KC Crossroads!
Open PhotoPictured here is one of the options explored during the design charrette process. Pictured here is one of the options explored during the design charrette process.

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