Browsing Awards

7 January, 2016 | Awards, Helix People

Kansas City Urban Hero Award

Each year the Downtown Council’s Urban Hero Awards recognize a select group of individuals who have had a significant impact on downtown Kansas City. This year Helix principal, Jay Tomlinson was recognized for his longstanding commitment to downtown, not only through his work but also his ongoing involvement with civic, arts and community organizations.

TOMLINSON Jay

As a downtown resident, Jay is a passionate advocate for the vibrant, walk-able experience that living in the Crossroads Arts District offers. His daily commute is approximately two-hundred steps – hard to beat!

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As an architect and business owner, Jay has worked downtown for over 30 years. His work with visionary clients who, like him, are committed to the continued vitality of the urban core has resulted in the renovation, restoration and adaptive reuse of over fifty buildings in downtown Kansas City. Many of these are notable landmarks, such as the Midland Theatre, the Webster House and Missouri Bank’s Crossroads Branch on Southwest Trafficway.

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Jay’s passion for downtown is equally matched by his commitment to supporting the arts. He has served as a board member for the Kansas City Art Institute, president and board member of the Charlotte Street Foundation and president of the Friends of Art of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. He also co-founded the Urban Society of Kansas City and is past-president of the American Institute of Architects, Kansas City Chapter. He has held numerous civic board memberships and recently served on the Kansas City Mayor’s Economic Development Committee Advance KC and the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts.

Other Urban Hero Award honorees for 2015 include Tysie McDowell-Ray and Dean Johnson of Crossroads Academy Kansas City, Leonard Graham of Taliferro & Brown and Harry Murphy of Harry’s Country Club.

Congratulations to all of the Urban Hero honorees. Your leadership inspires us all to continue the momentum that you have created and help make Kansas City a better place.


16 December, 2015 | Academic, Awards, Helix People

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)


29 October, 2015 | Awards

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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.


22 December, 2014 | Awards

2014 Bud Prize Award Honorees

For the past ten years, Helix has sponsored a scholarship competition for a 2nd year architecture studio at University of Missouri Kansas City in honor of the late Edwin “Bud” Persons. Bud was a magnetic, enthusiastic, and passionate interior architect at Helix and faculty member at the UMKC School of Architecture & Urban Planning who inspired his co-workers, students, and clients alike. When Bud unexpectedly passed away in 2002, Helix chose to remember him in a way that would allow Bud posthumously to inspire students and to support a program he held in the highest regard.

In addition to the connection Bud had to the University, this year in particular Helix has a proud affiliation with UMKC. This fall, Helix and partner HGA were awarded the UMKC Downtown Conservatory of Music and Dance landmark project in the Kansas City Crossroads, adjacent to the Kaufman Center for Performing Arts. John Eck, the outstanding assistant professor who lead this 2nd year architecture studio, chose this exciting conjuncture as an opportunity for his students to have their finger on the Conservatory pulse. He created a premise and program for their project to correlate to the University’s instigation of a downtown campus. The project was a mixed-use music store to supplement the downtown UMKC conservatory, including five apartments, a café, and some ancillary spaces. The results were impressive and inspiring.

This year, the winner of the 2014 Bud Prize certainly would have made Bud proud. Harison Pitchford, this year’s Bud Prize recipient, displayed excellence in all aspects of design. His thoughtful and provoking solution derived from a process steeped in hard work, ardor, creativity, and unmistakable talent. In fact, Harison’s capabilities inspired a discussion of innate versus learned skills amongst several of the event attendees. Certainly Harison worked tirelessly on the design, presentation, hand drawings, diagrams, graphics, and model for his solution; however, it was equally apparent that Harison possesses unique abilities and truly is gifted in the realm of design.

In addition to the winner, Harison Pitchford, two honorable mentions were awarded to Chelsea Bainbridge and Alyssa Sackman. Chelsea’s unit floor plans and music store exhibited great understanding of interior scale of space; and Alyssa’s compact, diminutive facility featured an open courtyard, or quad, that was delicate and inspiring as a student hub for the downtown campus.

Congratulations to you all, and thank you for perpetuating the passion and legacy of Bud Persons.

Open Photo2014 BUD PRIZE FINALISTS: CHELSEA BAINBRIDGE, HARISON PITCHFORD, ALYSSA SACKMAN 2014 BUD PRIZE FINALISTS: CHELSEA BAINBRIDGE, HARISON PITCHFORD, ALYSSA SACKMAN
Open PhotoDESIGN BY HARISON PITCHFORD DESIGN BY HARISON PITCHFORD
Open PhotoDESIGN BY CHELSEA BAINBRIDGE DESIGN BY CHELSEA BAINBRIDGE
Open PhotoDESIGN BY ALYSSA SACKMAN DESIGN BY ALYSSA SACKMAN

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.

2 August, 2014 | Awards, Helix People

Helix Named One of Kansas City’s “Best Companies to Work For” for the 5th Year in a Row!

Ingram’s “Best Companies to Work For” recognizes workplaces of the highest quality in the greater Kansas City area, those whose management practices, educational and advancement opportunities, benefits and spirit of teamwork set them apart from thousands of other companies throughout the region.

This year, we are very proud to know that Helix is receiving this title for the 5th year in a row!  Thank you Ingrams, and thank you Helix for making our work such an enjoyable experience for all!


Award Season

Award Season is upon us, and Helix-designed projects have been taking the stage- and in some instances- dominating it!  This month we are celebrating the success of 18th &Vine’s Highland Place re-development, as it has proven deserving of the state’s Preserve Missouri Award and Historic KC’s Preservation Award under “Best Preservation Practices.”  Last Friday’s Capstone Award Ceremony recognized three Helix projects: The Richard Bolling Federal Building (with 1.2 million gross sf), Webster Garage in Kansas City’s Crossroads, and Sporting Innovation’s renovation of the historic Lowe and Campbell Building (which also received a Historic KC Award, under “Contemporary Design”).

We want to thank everyone who contributed to the success of these projects!


22 December, 2013 | Awards, Recognition

Bud Prize Winner

It is with excitement that Helix recognizes this year’s Bud Prize winner, Anna Rayburn.  For those of you who are not familiar, The Bud Prize is a design competition among second year Architecture and Urban Planning students at the University of Missouri- Kansas City (UMKC).   Established by UMKC and Helix Architecture + Design, the Bud Prize honors the contributions of the deceased “Bud” Persons to the industry through the yearly scholarship.  This year marks the 10th year in which the scholarship has been awarded.  Congratulations, Anna!


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