Browsing Collaboration

Kansas City Crossroads Revitalization 15 Years Later

Fifteen years ago we celebrated the opening of the Webster House after a complete renovation that restored the historic character of this architectural gem. The project was the first of numerous completed by Shirley Bush Helzberg in the Crossroads Arts District. Since that time, vacant buildings and empty lots throughout the Crossroads have been transformed into one of Kansas City’s most vibrant neighborhoods. From that first project, we have had the opportunity to work alongside Helzberg as she has invested in the neighborhood, block by block, restoring buildings and inserting new structures.

One of the many places that her investment is evident is at the intersection of 17th and Wyandotte, where Helzberg has revitalized all four corners. This intersection was once part of Kansas City’s historic Film Row, where every major Hollywood Studio had distribution offices from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. After the film houses moved out, many of these buildings sat vacant or substantially underutilized until they were acquired by Helzberg.

The projects on these four corners merge past and future to create a bustling business district by day and a thriving cultural district at night.

Webster House (Northwest Corner)

Helix designed the adaptive reuse of the historic Webster House School, the oldest standing school building remaining in Kansas City, into a restaurant and boutique. Originally designed by local architect Manual Diaz in 1885 and constructed the same year, the Queen Anne Style educational facility was rescued by Helzberg from years of neglect and disrepair. The main level of the three-story facility features fine antique galleries and retail showrooms. The second floor features a full-service dining room, a pub and a large-capacity catering kitchen. Original classrooms are now used for banquets, receptions and meetings.

The project, which received federal and state historic tax credits, was designed in accordance with the National Parks Service (NPS) guidelines for historic preservation.The masonry-and-wood exterior was completely restored to its original condition, which included the reconstruction of the original bell tower. Many of the interior finishes, such as the grand stair, were recreated with reference to their original character. Other features, like the stained-glass windows, were reconstructed with historical accuracy.

 

Vitagraph Building (Southeast Corner)

Constructed in 1930 by the Warner Brothers, the Vitagraph Film Exchange Building underwent a full-scale renovation in 2012. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Art Deco structure was originally designed as a film warehouse and distribution facility and is now home to the offices of the Kansas City Symphony and the headquarters for Global Prairie, an integrated communications firm.

The Helix team designed the project in accordance with NPS guidelines for historic preservation and achieved LEED Gold Certification, one of only eight buildings at the time to achieve this level in Kansas City. Unique historic features of the structure were carefully reconstructed, including the building’s original decorative plaster, terrazzo floors, marble and limestone finishes, as well as the distinctive cast-in-place structural grid that features decorative concrete ceilings throughout. A new 40-space, two-level parking structure built adjacent to the Vitagraph Building provides covered parking as well as a green roof terrace that serves tenants.

 

Webster Garage (Northeast Corner)

The Webster Garage was built to support three underserved entities nearby: The Webster House, the Vitagraph Building, and members of the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra that perform in the adjacent Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Strategically located between the three user groups, the structure, which houses 185 cars, freed up once-utilized parking lots for new and more dense development. Retail space along 17th Street has an adjacent courtyard surrounded by planter beds. Work from a prominent local artist is integrated into the structure. Concrete and masonry materials were selected to provide both durability and an aesthetic that relates to the surrounding neighborhood.

 

1700-1710 Wyandotte (Southwest Corner)

The three buildings from 1700-1710 Wyandotte were renovated into modern office space that house new tenants to the Crossroads Arts District. 1700 Wyandotte was formerly owned by Universal Studios and operated as the Midwest storage and distribution for the Midwest. The two properties at 1706 and 1710 needed considerable work and were consolidated into one larger office building. All three buildings underwent complete renovations, including exterior restoration, new buildings systems and the addition of rooftop terraces with views of the Crossroads neighborhood and downtown Kansas City as an amenity for tenants.

As the neighborhood continues to welcome new businesses, residents and cultural assets we are proud to work alongside trailblazers like Helzberg who have helped make the Crossroads what it is today.


Local Entrepreneurs Build Lasting Relationships and New Headquarters through HEMP Connection

When Duey Williams joined the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP) over 15 years ago, he was new to Kansas City and working to make the business he had just purchased, Skyline E3, a success. It was in this organization he met Jay Tomlinson, founding principal of Helix Architecture + Design. The three-year program, which offers mentoring and connections with fellow entrepreneurs, is known for helping set the foundation for lasting relationships.  

Williams credits long-term relationships, like those made through HEMP, for Skyline’s success. In fact, he said support from entrepreneurs helped the organization grow during those difficult years.

“HEMP is not a soliciting organization. However, entrepreneurs in the program support one another. People want to do business with people they know and trust, and HEMPers recommended my work outside of their own organizations. These connections were an important contributor to Skyline’s growth.”

Skyline E3’s revenue is now seven times what it was when Williams purchased the business in 2000. With their expanding size and market reach, they needed a physical space that could better accommodate their personnel and client growth, while showcasing their products and company values. When it came to finding an architect that could bring his vision to life, Williams looked to his HEMP connections. Skyline E3 hired Helix Architecture + Design to create a new, 53,000-square-foot headquarters that would provide a state-of-the-art showroom for clients and a modern workplace for employees.

“I like to do business with people I know and always wanted to work with Jay,” said Williams.  

In the design of their new headquarters, Skyline wanted to invigorate company culture, create a sales area for clients and have room for growth. Helix worked closely with the company’s leadership to define their goals and unique amenities they wanted to incorporate for clients and staff. An impressive entrance and lobby, community space and conference rooms which operated as show rooms were key aspects of their vision.

The showroom and office space within their new headquarters provides an open and relaxed sales environment for clients with ample room for the company’s large display options. The open office environment offers flexibility and encourages collaboration among Skyline E3’s growing team. Bright pops of color, branded graphics and a conference table that converts into a ping pong table convey the energy and values of the company. The warehouse storage that comprises half of their building provides ample room for growth as the company continues to expand.

Key spaces were designed to accommodate the company’s desire to expand client and community outreach. The prep and staging area allows Skyline to showcase work to clients visiting their facility. A seminar room is used for team meetings and is also available to other area businesses.

“It’s important to our company to support entrepreneurs. We offer seminars at our new headquarters that are designed to help businesses improve their ROI at tradeshows. It’s one of the ways we give back to the community for its continued support. Having a newly designed facility helps make these initiatives possible,” said Williams.

Continuing to foster local entrepreneurs has been important to both Williams and Tomlinson throughout their careers. Since graduating from the HEMP class of 2001, Tomlinson has remained active in the organization and currently serves as a HEMP fellow.

“HEMP is a key component of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Tomlinson. “The program offers an objective sounding board for firm leaders that is invaluable.”  

If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner interested in learning more about how you can benefit from the program, visit the HEMP KC website.

Photography by Bob Greenspan and event photos courtesy of Skyline E3


Kansas City Design Week 2016 | April 7 – 16

Thursday kicks off Kansas City Design Week 2016! Get ready to experience everything from the Design Olympics to lectures on creative failure. We got the inside scoop from Helix’s own Sam Loring, AIA, who is co-chair of the event for the second year in a row.

Sam Loring, Co-Chair of KC Design Week

“Design Week is about celebrating all things design in Kansas City. It showcases our incredible local design talent, allows designers in different professions to meet each other and experience various design viewpoints – all in a fun, festive atmosphere!”

The week is centered on the convergence of ideas, information-sharing and inspiration from designers from across the architecture, graphic design and interior design industries. 

“There are several events that are specifically for architects. One is a working session on the 3-D modeling software, Dynamo. This software could help revolutionize the way that architects design buildings,” Loring says. One of three co-chairs, he explains each one represents the three major local design organizations: AIA, AIGA and IIDA.

It’s clear to see the value of designers sharing ideas across industries, as processes, challenges and successes often follow similar patterns. As the website states, the week is a good way to keep up with “constantly changing perceptions, share ideas and coming together to make things beautiful and functional.” …Music to our ears.

Debbie Millman

One of the highlights of the week will be Thursday’s Debbie Millman On Rejection: How the worst moments of your life can turn out the be the best. She was named “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA. Millman is also an author, educator, brand strategist and host of the podcast Design Matters.

So what event (of the many) is Loring most excited about attending?

“I am excited about the Bread and Butter Concepts on Designing an Empire presentation. It will be fascinating to see how the entire branding and design process works for a restaurant. Every element from the way the menu is planned, to the interior space design, and how it all comes together to create one brand. I’m also excited to eat some Republica food!”

Join us at Helix on Friday night as we host one of many Open Studio Night open houses! We’ll be sharing a behind-the-scenes look at our design process for the Boulevard Visitor’s Center. Plus, what Boulevard party would be complete without yard games, beer and popcorn? You won’t want to miss it.

There are still tickets available for many events – so join in on the fun at kcdesignweek.org


Helix + KCU at SCUP

Helix Architecture + Design and Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) will be presenting the transformational renovation of Weaver Auditorium into the university’s new Academic Center at the SCUP 2016 North Central Symposium on April 27th.

HelixKCUMB_6625_LR

Program: RePurpose / ReEngergize – Creating a New Academic Center at KCU

Every higher education institution is dealing with the challenges of having existing buildings that are not designed to accommodate the way that millennials (and Gen Z following them) want to learn and connect with their peers. Because of this, many of these buildings are substantially underutilized.

HelixKCUMB-2_054_LR

HelixKCUMB-2_153_LR

The Academic Center at KCU took an existing building with a large 1,500-seat auditorium and transformed it 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.

The lobby and back-of-house auditorium spaces were converted into flexible student break-out and study rooms. This resourceful solution saved nearly a third of what it might otherwise cost to build a new facility and achieved LEED Silver Certification due in part to repurposing of 90% of the materials from the site’s previous building, Weaver Auditorium.

HelixKCUMB_6685_LR

The project was one of multiple identified in the University’s master plan, which was initiated in 2012. The design principles expressed in this master plan are based on a qualitative approach that synthesizes interviews, the aspirations and the goals of KCU with a critical assessment of their current space planning needs.

SPEAKERS:

Helix principal Reeves Wiedeman and project architect Miranda Groth will be co-presenting alongside KCU CFO/CEO Joe Massman and Director of Capital Projects, Tim Saxe on the success.

Reeves Wideman + Miranda Groth

Reeves W. Wiedeman, FAIA
Founding Principal
Helix Architecture + Design

As a founding principal of Helix, Reeves Wiedeman has been a driving force behind the firm’s success across a diverse, award-winning portfolio of work that spans academic, civic, cultural, workplace, hospitality and residential markets. As a market leader for Helix’s higher education clients, Reeves has led all of the firm’s projects for KCU as well as other academic institutions throughout the region. Reeves is an alumnus of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design. His commitment to design excellence and advancement of the profession is evident in his continued involvement with the American Institute of Architects and his selection for Fellowship Status.

Miranda Groth, AIA, LEED AP
Project Manager
Helix Architecture + Design

During her career at Helix, Miranda has managed nearly 150,000 square feet of projects for Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, including the complex adaptive reuse of Weaver Auditorium into the new KCU Academic Center. The project recently received an AIA Central State Design Excellence Award for its ingenuity in repurposing an underutilized structure into an educational hub on the KCU campus. Her methodical project management approach has consistently resulted in her projects being completed under budget and within schedule. Miranda has a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Joe Massman and Tim Saxe

Joe Massman, MBA
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences

Joe Massman is chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operating officer at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, where he is responsible for most of its non-academic functions including finance, human resources, compliance, information technology, facilities and campus operations. Prior to joining the field of higher education, Joe was the founder and CEO of the ETF Store, a retail investment advisory firm. Previously, he served as CFO at Freightquote.com and held other senior financial positions with Express.com in Los Angeles, Viacom, Inc., in New York, and KPMG LLP in Kansas City. Joe earned a bachelor of business administration from the University of Notre Dame and a master of business administration from New York University.

Tim Saxe, PE
Director of Capital Projects
Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences

Tim provides leadership for the planning, design, construction, and financial performance of capital improvement projects for the University.  Prior to his role at KCU, Tim enjoyed a diverse 15-year career in both design, as an architect and structural engineer at HNTB, and then in construction management, as Project Manager and Knowledge Manager at JE Dunn Construction.  A majority of Tim’s experience is on large scale projects on University campuses.  Tim graduated from the Missouri University of Science & Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and completed graduate studies in Architectural Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University.

JOIN US!

We’d love to see you at the SCUP 2016 North Central Symposium in Omaha, NE. The conference takes place on April 27th, so register soon! 


Boulevard Brewing Announces New Visitor Center

Helix could not be more thrilled to share the news that we are working with Boulevard Brewing Co. on the design of their new Visitor Center. “We’re honored by the chance to work with one of Kansas City’s most cherished companies,” said Jay Tomlinson, principal with Helix.

Boulevard Brewery Visitor Center Rendering

When Boulevard opened its doors in 1989 it began welcoming those interested in touring its brewery and tasting its beers. For years the company offered just one tour a week, often attracting 15 or 20 people. As the company grew in size and stature, so did demand for its tours, recently ranked by national publications as among the best in the country. In 2015, Boulevard hosted almost 60,000 visitors on some 2,300 tours, turning away thousands more due to lack of space. “People tell me it’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem,” said Jeff Krum, Boulevard’s vice president of corporate affairs. “Now we think we’ve found a solution.”

As the company announced in a press release this morning, they recently acquired a four-story building at 2534 Madison, immediately adjacent to the brewery campus. The two lower levels of the red brick structure, built for the Skelly Oil Company in 1929, are being converted into a spacious visitor center. The first floor will consist of an “Experience” area with exhibits about beer and Boulevard, an expanded retail shop and a much larger tasting room. The 10,000 square foot second floor will be devoted to a Beer Hall featuring the brewery’s beers and offering a limited selection of food.

Boulevard Brewery Visitor Center Entry Rendering

“It’s humbling to see lines of people waiting for a chance to tour the brewery, and we’re proud of what we’ve done with limited space,” said Amber Ayres, Boulevard’s Director of Tours and Recreation. “But we’re really excited by this opportunity to re-imagine and radically enhance the experience. We hope it will become a destination for locals and visitors alike.”

The Helix team has been working closely with Boulevard to bring their vision to life. “The Boulevard team has an amazing vision for the experience they want to create,” said Alissa Wehmueller, director of interiors for Helix. “There’s a true sense of excitement and pride throughout our office that we have the opportunity to help create such a special spot for KC.”

Boulevard anticipates a grand opening by the end of June. More details will be posted on the company’s website as they become available.

Special thanks to our Helix team members that have been working to make this project a reality – Erin Stork for her talent in creating places that people love to gather, Cale Sadowski for his diligence in seeing every detail through completion and Annie Nutsch for our beautiful renderings.

We can’t wait to share that first “cheers” from the new space overlooking the brewery and our favorite city!


16 December, 2015 | Collaboration, Community Outreach, Culture

The Bud Prize

Award Recipients3

Every fall, Helix teams up with the UMKC Department of Architecture and Urban Planning for The Bud Prize – an annual design competition and scholarship opportunity for second year students. The scholarship was created in honor of the late Bud Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix. The fund is intended to recognize the life and work of Bud Persons by promoting the study and knowledge of architecture and design through a scholarship grant awarded to students attending UMKC. In celebration, Helix joins the students and faculty, along with their families and friends, for a reception and award ceremony.

This year, the assignment was to design a community art center, located at Manheim & Troost in Kansas City, MO. The program required that the community center include classrooms, private studios, administrative offices, and support spaces, as well as a retail art gallery and outdoor work area. The program also challenged students to think beyond designing a space that was both pleasing and functional. Students were required to think about the context of their design as it relates to its impact in the surrounding community – much like architecture, design, and urban planning in the real world. We are excited to announce the recipients of this year’s scholarship:

First Place: Olivia Ashbrook
Second Place: Lauren Silvers
Honorable Mention: Sam Green


Congratulations to all the students for their hard work!

To read more about the winning projects, check out UMKC’s blog post about this year’s Bud Prize.
(Award Recipients pictured above from left to right: Olivia Ashbrook, Sam Green, Lauren Silvers)


Celebrating Community at the Ribbon Cutting for the New KCPD Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

Earlier this week the City of Kansas City, Missouri and the Kansas City Police Department hosted a ribbon cutting for the new Leon Mercer Jordan Campus, which includes the East Patrol Division station and regional crime lab.  The event drew community leaders and hundreds of attendees from across the city to celebrate the success of the project and the positive impact it will have on the community.

SE view-final

Helix worked alongside a team of over twenty consultants, many of whom are certified MBE, WBE and Section 3 businesses,  to deliver a new state of the art Patrol Division and Crime Lab that will serve the city well into the future. Together the team succeeded in creating a model project that shows how collaboration and inclusion can work as a strategy for building a great city.

In addition to housing police functions, the East Patrol Station houses a community room, a computer room and a gymnasium that are open to the public. In an article in the Kansas City Star Police Chief Darryl Forte and Rev. John Modest Miles shared their enthusiasm for the value the facility brings to community members.

Police Chief Darryl Forte said, “It’s not just a police station. It’s a place where people can gather – where they can do homework, play a game of basketball or have a neighborhood meeting in a safe and supportive environment.”

Rev. John Modest Miles said, “It is one of the most blessed things that could happen to this community. I am convinced that it is going to spark the rebirth of the whole community.”

SW view-final

Thank you and congratulations to all of our design team members, the city, the police department and our construction team. We are incredibly honored to have the opportunity to work with all of you to deliver such an important project for Kansas City.

Detailed information on the project and its history can be found on the police department’s Safer KC website.


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

 

 


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.

1 of 212