Browsing Community Outreach

Congratulations to Helix’s Kristine Sutherlin


Click here to learn more about the AIA Pillars Program

Kristine recently graduated from the AIA Pillars Leadership Program.

“The purpose is to prepare a representative cross section of the chapter’s emerging leaders for their role in shaping the future of both the architectural profession and the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.”

Congratulations Kristine!  We’re proud to call you one of our own!


Make It Count 5K

Click for link to!

Helix is proud to sponsor the inaugural Spencer C. Duncan Make It Count 5K Run this summer in honor of the one year anniversary of a fallen member of the Helix family. Army Specialist Spencer C. Duncan was killed in action on August 6, 2011. Spencer is the son of Dale Duncan, principal architect at Helix Architecture + Design.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the life of this young hero. Please take a moment to view the attached link, share it with your friends, and consider how you might want to participate in this exciting new event. Weather you like to run, walk, volunteer, or cheer, we hope to see you August 4th.

Helix Participates in the Eco Abet Summer Charette

Helix participated in the second annual Eco Abet Summer Charrette again this year with Eric Bosch, City Architect (Capital Projects Office). This year…the East Police Campus Team took on the challenge. Team members were:

Eric Bosch – City of Kansas City Missouri, City Architect
Bryan Gross – Helix
Ryan Hunter – Helix
Darius Hollwell – Helix
Carly Pumphrey – Helix
Trudy Faulkner – Helix
Diana Page – DLP Architectural Drafting and Consulting, LLC
David Clanton – Pendulum Studio

This year, our team worked with Vicky Smith and the Ubuntu Community Center at 4327 Troost. The connected buildings at 4327 and 4329 Troost were purchased in the fall of 2011 with the intent to serve the children and families in the community. This purchase was inspired by the Emerald City Project, a grassroots movement to support the revitalization of the Troost Avenue corridor of Kansas City, MO. The two buildings quickly earned the title of “Ubuntu Village” as the vision of community building blossomed. Ubuntu is an African philosophy which means: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” The intent is to create a place where people gather to develop and/or share their unique talents and gifts to enhance the community.

For more information – Eco Abet website: for more information about what Eco Abet does.


2 November, 2011 | Community Outreach

Christian Academy for Boys: A Plan

Recently one of our designers, Carly Pumphrey, and our beloved former intern CJ Pennington spent some time developing a schematic master plan for Kensington Park, a site at 29th and State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. Here’s the site:

The Urban Scholastic Center (USC) is planning to build a campus for the Christian Academy for Boys on this site, and Chuck Alan, founder and executive director of the organization, asked if we could create a presentation for him to share at a golf tournament held on Sept. 24. The golf tournament, an annual event, will be the main fundraising vehicle for the Academy, although Chuck and his staff are also seeking grant funding. Classes will start in the organization’s current facilities in the fall of 2012, no matter the status of funding for the new facility.

The vision for CAB was inspired by some of the best private schools in Kansas City. The goal is to create a college preparatory school to help male students and their families (and ultimately the community) become aware of possibilities beyond what is expected within the prevailing culture. In light of the high percentage of fatherless homes in the area,  Chuck (a Wyandotte-county native) and the staff at the USC believe that working on the expectations and goals that young boys have for themselves will eventually transform the entire community.

If this point isn’t clear by now, the vision for the CAB includes the broader community. The master plan we helped create includes a Community Arts Building, so students and community members can be exposed to (and hopefully learn to appreciate and love) a wide range of music, theater and arts (there is almost no arts/music presence in the area now); a Cafeteria/Multi-Purpose building for use by both the Academy and the community; a central courtyard and lots of green space with trees and benches for students to experience a college-like campus and have a safe place to gather and retreat; unassigned land for future growth; and tennis courts (as opposed to a football stadium) to help students imagine new paths to a successful future.

Notice in our proposed master plan (below) at the heart of the campus is an existing gym.  The plan is to transform the gym into the school’s library, again, to be utilized by both students and the community, and to symbolize a broader shift in focus, which ultimately is what the CAB is trying to achieve.




15 January, 2011 | Art, Community Outreach, Culture

Team Helix CANstructs

Jan. 12, 2011: Team Helix competed against other Kansas City design and engineering firms to help the fight against hunger and CANstruct (construction where the primary building supply is canned food) a self-supporting structure. At the end of the competition, all cans used in designs were donated and distributed to families in need, with the assistance of the Harvesters Community Food Network.

So, Helix did a submarine out of (navy beans + pork and beans) cans.

Read on. It makes sense.

“Based on the classic science fiction novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne, 20,000 Cans Under the Sea is a representation of the Nautilus, the submarine featured in the novel and its later film adaptations. Much like a can under the sea, a submarine is a completely sealed environment carrying food and supplies to last months at a time. Interestingly, dried beans were once widely included among staple supplies of the U.S. Navy – hence the term “navy beans” and hence, also, our choice of can.”

We may not have sunk the competition, but we’re pleased with our sub. The structure rises nearly seven feet in the air, took 5 hours to CANstruct (plus a handful of hours to plan), and it includes roughly 3,000 cans and water bottles. Follow the links below to see additional pictures of team Helix in action, some news reports, and a stop-motion video of the CANstruction process. For more information about CANstruction, visit the Harvesters website.

Kansas City Star Images

Kansas City Star Video

Helix CANstruction Time-Lapse

15 December, 2010 | Community Outreach

reStart Christmas Event

On Wednesday, December 1, 2010 Helix began what we hope will be a new annual tradition with the reStart Youth Center.

ReStart Inc. “provides shelter and supportive services to homeless men, women, youth and families with the goals of helping persons move toward independence and self-sufficiency and ending homelessness in our community.” So this year Helix donated a 7.5-foot, pre-lit Christmas tree, complete with handmade ornaments and gifts for each person at the Youth Center, which provides emergency shelter for 10 homeless and runaway teenagers ages 12 to 18.

To begin this new tradition, we gathered around the big red table, had a potluck-style lunch, and created handmade ornaments from craft paper and old wallcovering samples.

The next day, four of the Helix group joined the 6 girls and 4 guys at the Youth Center for an afternoon of ornament-making, tree-decorating, and gift-giving. That’s our own Sarah Godfrey (above, foreground), busily making ornaments for the tree, and Lora Everett in the background.

For information on how you can either donate to the reStart Youth Center, or help out by volunteering, click here.

Helix Displays Art From The Kansas City Collection

A new art collection is traveling among Kansas City’s businesses, and Helix has several of the specially selected pieces. The Kansas City Collection was formed to raise awareness of regional artists. Every six months the works will rotate among 10 corporate partners including; Barkley, Bishop-McCann, Kauffman Foundation.  To learn more about this collection or to inquire about purchasing one of these works of art, visit

Bryan Gross attends Kansas City Design Center Critiques

The Kansas City Design Center runs a fifth-year design studio for architecture, interior design and urban design students from both the University of Kansas and Kansas State University Schools of Architecture. This past Friday, April 30, was the final end-of-year critique for the 18 students that elected to do their final year of studies in this dynamic Kansas City design lab. Located on Baltimore Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets, the Design Center studio focuses on urban issues and design opportunities within the Kansas City area. This year the focus was on the Crossroads Arts District, the area of KC where Helix’s office resides. Because of our familiarity with the area, and since many of our projects are located within the Crossroads, Bryan Gross was invited to be one of the local design professionals that spent the day examining and critiquing the student projects. The projects included a small pocket park on Southwest Boulevard, a plan to expand Washington Park to the north across the railroad tracks and into the Crossroads, multiple proposals for magnet schools, a media center, residential buildings and parking structures. Many of the projects included proposals to enliven the arts focus of the area with art galleries, outside film projections, and exterior performance spaces. All of the proposals were thoughtful and would have a positive impact on the area.

The Design Center also sponsors public lectures and discussion forums that feature leading architects, urban designers and others interested in design, architecture, and the development of a livable urban context. More public dialogue on how specific areas of KC can expand and evolve can only help our city become a more dynamic, creative and competitive place, and we applaud the Kansas City Design Center for initiating that effort.

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