Browsing Collaboration

Public Interest Design Institute Comes to Kansas City

Design Corps and the SEED Network recently collaborated to bring the Public Interest Design Institute to Kansas City for a two-day conference. The conference was inspired by the ideas and efforts of notable Public Interest Designer Bryan Bell, who has sparked a global movement toward a new approach to design. Public Interest Design goes beyond the typical scope of projects which simply address the architectural needs of the client and community to also consider social, economic, and environmental impacts.

Conference participants were introduced to global and local examples of PID projects. Through an open forum, presenters exchanged opportunities and challenges encountered in PID projects and also discussed the use of the SEED (Social, Economic, and Environmental Design) metric system as a framework for project development.

Public Interest Design has grown in popularity in the field of architecture through publications such as Design Like You Give A Damn, exhibits like MoMA’s Small Scale, Big Change, and organizations such as Architecture for Humanity. Inspired by the ideas and experiences shared at the conference, Helix is eager to implement PID projects and utilize the SEED metric to evaluate design efforts. Helix also intends to include the valuable information and resources gained into future participation with Better Blocks Kansas City and the HOPE Center via Eco Abet.

Open PhotoRebuild South Sudan, Jalle School: Investing in a community with few physical resources and a large population of refugee residents, Rebuild South Sudan recognized an enormous need for education. The Jalle Peace School will include a library, classrooms, computer center, administrative offices, and community space. The standing structure proudly marks the completion of phase one in a three phase project. Rebuild South Sudan, Jalle School: Investing in a community with few physical resources and a large population of refugee residents, Rebuild South Sudan recognized an enormous need for education. The Jalle Peace School will include a library, classrooms, computer center, administrative offices, and community space. The standing structure proudly marks the completion of phase one in a three phase project.
Open PhotobcWORKSHOP, Congo Street Initiative: Engaged in a street transformation of a socially and economically fragmented area of Dallas, bcWORKSHOP partnered with residents and homeowners to develop housing solutions appropriate to the community residents with a high level of design. Place and permanence were key concepts to the Congo Street Initiative; a holding house was first implemented on a vacant lot on the street to allow residents to stay near their home while construction continued on their own residence. bcWORKSHOP, Congo Street Initiative: Engaged in a street transformation of a socially and economically fragmented area of Dallas, bcWORKSHOP partnered with residents and homeowners to develop housing solutions appropriate to the community residents with a high level of design. Place and permanence were key concepts to the Congo Street Initiative; a holding house was first implemented on a vacant lot on the street to allow residents to stay near their home while construction continued on their own residence.

New Website

So you’ve probably noticed that things are a little different around here. A bit brighter. A lot more awesome. And hey—you might even be reading this post and exploring the new site on your phone or a tablet. Isn’t that a nice change?

Usability and user experience were two of the main drivers in this redesign. We wanted viewers to be able to navigate through a beautiful, functional, and enjoyable website no matter what kind of device they were using to do so. We wanted to pull people into the website with an engaging and interactive design that showcased our clients’ projects. We think that reaching those goals was made possible by teaming with local firms Design Ranch (design) and 40Digits (development).

One of the amazing (in this intern’s humble opinion) features of our website is its responsive design. That means all of the content shifts and adjusts intelligently according to your window size. Like so:

Website animation

animated GIF illustrating the new website’s responsive design

Please explore the new site and email us at info@helixkc.com to tell us what you think!

 


The Importance of Working with Section 3 and MWBE Businesses

It’s about helping the city build itself, together.

-Reeves W. Wiedeman

Like many of our previous projects—such as the KCFD Station 36, KCPD Headquarters, Highland Place, and the Richard Bolling Federal Building—the KCPD East Patrol Campus has involved an number of MWBE and Section 3 businesses.

Because the East Patrol Campus will be located at 27th and Vine, an area that is predominantly minority populated, Helix felt it was crucial to be as inclusive as possible. We wanted to involve the local community in our design efforts. Out of the twenty-two firms making up the architectural/design team, thirteen are Certified MBE (Minority Business Enterprise), WBE (Women Business Enterprise), or Section 3 businesses. A list of design team participants can be found here. Several people belonging to these firms work at our offices to foster collaboration. Helix has since hired an additional three African American artists to participate on exterior design.

It was important for Helix, led by Principal Reeves Wiedeman, to not only meet the requirements for MWBE/Section 3 participation set by the city, but to exceed them. We view MWBE and Section 3 as sensible programs—programs that make both social and business sense. We received the East Patrol Campus contract when the economy was down and, as prime architect, felt it was our responsibility to encourage the economic growth of the area in which we were working. This decision to surpass the minimum requirements reflects several of our company’s core values (Design, Service, Culture, Operations, and Legacy).

Service
We believe in out-serving our client’s expectations.

Operations
Helix believes in making smart, progressive, and environmentally responsible choices.

Legacy
Helix believes in setting the standards others follow.

Read more about the KCPD East Patrol Campus in one of our previous posts.


1 April, 2013 | Collaboration

Cocktails & Conversation

This Wednesday, UMKC Architecture Urban Planning + Design and Helix will be co-hosting the monthly AIA Cocktails & Conversation from 5:30-7:30 at UMKC – Katz Hall. Stephen Hardy, Chief Community Builder, with MindMixer will be speaking as the community celebrates the dedication of the new Kivett and Myers Lobby at Katz Hall.

Hope to see you there!

Click photo for more info on aiakc.org Click photo for more info on aiakc.org

15 March, 2013 | Collaboration, Innovative

Global Prairie & Vitra

Last summer we gave you a sneak peek into the innovative offices at Global Prairie featuring Vitra office furniture. A few months later we hosted Vitra for discussion on workplace design. Today, we’re thrilled to share Vitra’s website, featuring the Helix design at Global Prairie KC!

This project has been an excellent collaboration that we, for one, are proud to have been a part of.

View Global Prairie at Vitra.com View Global Prairie at Vitra.com

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