Browsing Helix People
Helix is pleased to announce Evan Fox, AIA has been elevated to principal status and Miranda Groth, AIA has been named an associate.
Miranda Groth is a project manager and market leader for Helix Architecture + Design’s higher education practice. Throughout her career she has developed a specialized focus on academic facilities and is recognized for her ability to deliver complex projects on schedule and within budget. Since joining Helix in 2013, she has managed nearly 150,000 square feet of projects for Kansas City University, including the complex adaptive reuse of Weaver Auditorium into the new KCU Academic Center. Most recently Miranda is managing the renovation of Hill Hall at Missouri State University and just completed the adaptive reuse of a 1950’s Bowling alley into a new home for the Academy for Integrated Arts charter school.
Evan Fox is a project manager and senior project architect with over 12 years of experience. His ability to guide high-profile projects, such as AMC’s Theatre Support Center and the Corrigan Building Renovation, from inception to completion makes him an incredible asset to the firm and our clients. Evan is known for his well-rounded capabilities with design detailing, consultant coordination, construction management and technical programs. Prior to moving to Kansas City he worked in Chicago on corporate headquarters and high-rise residential projects. Evan is also a leader in the local design community and an active AIA member — serving as AIA KC Design Awards Co-Chair and the AIA KC Pillars Steering Committee Chair.
We asked Miranda & Evan a few questions to help you get to know these two key leaders a bit more.
Q: What made you choose a career in architecture?
E: I have always loved building things. Even more so, I like the process of figuring out how you start from scratch with an idea and turn it into a building. Because building stuff is cool, but telling people how to build stuff is even cooler.
M: The influence of a grade school art teacher who noticed that I always wanted to draw rooms and buildings instead of objects or people. Her willingness to share books on the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan made me consider architecture a possibility.
Q: What’s your design philosophy?
E: Work with good designers.
M: No fuss. I prefer everything has a purpose and a place.
Q: What brought you to Helix?
E: The people. You have to care about what you do and who you work with. Otherwise, why do it?
M: Helix provides me the opportunity to share and develop my passions – restoration of old and historic buildings, Kansas City community involvement and desire to make a positive impact on the places people learn, work and live.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
E: My hobbies include BBQ smoking, playing golf and raising a pretty awesome kiddo.
M: My husband and I have made restoring our 90-year-old house our hobby. When we’re not slinging hammers or plastering, I enjoy baking, gardening, crafting and most any other “old lady” hobby as my profile suggests!
Q: What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?
E: Listening to too much Journey, Chicago, REO Speedwagon, STYX, Boston, Foreigner, etc.
M: My celebrity crush is Jeff Goldblum!
We are beyond thrilled to have these two exceptional professionals as a part of the Helix leadership team, and we congratulate both of you on your many accomplishments. Cheers to Miranda and Evan!
Newly integrated firm will offer expanded resources, combined leadership and award-winning design talent
Kansas City is experiencing unprecedented real estate development right now, a golden era of investment in our community. Helix Architecture + Design and Blackbird Design Studio recognized an opportunity to strengthen their position in the marketplace by joining forces. The merger will offer clients access to combined leadership, expanded resources and unrivaled design talent.
“The pace of change within our industry is rapidly accelerating,” said Reeves Wiedeman, founding principal of Helix Architecture + Design. “New firms bring fresh ideas and different approaches to the way we have always done things; established firms bring a depth of knowledge, experience and stability. We see other firms locally and nationally following one of these two paths. In merging Helix and Blackbird we are bringing together the best of both worlds – stability, mentorship, extraordinary talent, a nimble approach to change and the ability to truly lead the industry into its next era.”
The impact of Helix and Blackbird’s work is present throughout Kansas City’s streetscape, boardrooms and academic halls. Their portfolio of work spans venues for the arts and local restaurant concepts to new civic buildings and some of the largest corporate headquarters in the city. While both firms maintain diverse practices, each brings complementary expertise to the merger.
“We started Blackbird Design Studio to chart our own course, elevate design and elevate our city. Over the last three years we have continuously had the opportunity to do that,” said Erika Moody, founding principal with Blackbird Design Studio. “This merger allows us to continue what we started on a larger scale; it allows us to be stronger, better, faster with a team and network in place that will help us continue to propel our city, and our region, forward.”
So how did two firms go from mutual admiration to marriage?
The relationship between Helix and Blackbird started as a partnership to land a new client both firms were pursuing. When a trusted industry partner, who knows both firms well, asked firm leaders if they had considered making this partnership permanent it set the wheels in motion. The two firms had complementary areas of expertise, culturally similar studio environments and a shared vision for the quality of work they wanted to create. With large projects on the horizon, they were eager to begin working together. Things moved quickly from there.
For nearly 25 years Helix Architecture + Design has operated in downtown Kansas City. Long known for their experience renovating some of the city’s most notable landmarks, Helix has become a go-to firm for building owners and developers investing in the urban core. The firm’s civic engagement and advocacy for investing in the arts and education has also resulted in a substantial portfolio of work for the city’s top academic and cultural institutions. They are currently leading some of the most significant projects in downtown Kansas City, including the renovation of Traders Towers into a “smart” apartment building, the new Crossroads Westside development, the transformation of the historic Pickwick Plaza hotel and bus depot into a new mixed-use development, the ongoing transformation of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences’ campus in the historic Northeast, the recently completed Boulevard Brewing Co. Visitor Center and the University of Missouri – Kansas City’s proposed Conservatory of Music and Dance in the Crossroads Arts District.
Starting top left, going clockwise: KCU Academic Center, Boulevard Brewing Co. Visitor’s Center, KCPD Headquarters, Traders Tower, University of Kansas Medical Center – Health Education Building, UMKC Downtown Conservatory of Music & Dance.
When Moody and co-founder Trevor Hoiland started Blackbird, they brought with them an extensive portfolio of corporate office projects. During their time as principals with 360 Architecture they led the design of the H&R Block’s world headquarters, AMC’s new Theatre Support Center and the renovation and expansion of Black & Veatch’s world headquarters. Since founding Blackbird they have built upon this expertise to grow their portfolio of corporate office projects throughout the region while expanding to other markets. Current and recently completed projects include Olsson Associates corporate headquarters and multiple regional offices, the renovation of the Creamery Building into flexible office suites for small to mid-sized companies, Synergy Services Children’s Campus, an award-winning office and showroom for furniture manufacturer HighTower, the headquarters for rapidly growing tech company Valorem Consulting and Corrigan Station, a mixed-use development that includes the renovation of the historic Corrigan Building and adjacent new construction that will house office and retail space.
Starting top left, going clockwise: HighTower Furniture, Shepherd Residence, Olsson Associates headquarters, Corrigan Station, Synergy Services Children’s Center.
As Helix and Blackbird merge operations, these niches fit together well, each expanding upon the experience and expertise of the other. Culturally the two firms were a natural fit as well. Within both design shops, passion and humor go hand in hand.
“We love what we do; we take our work seriously but not ourselves,” said Hoiland. “We recognize that our clients are trusting us with a significant investment; they are letting us help shape not only their physical environment but their culture, their vision and their brand. We want the end result to be special but also make the process enjoyable along the way.”
Both firms also share a similar philosophy that leadership within the community is a key component of their business. Each of the firm’s principals and many of their staff invest significant time on behalf of civic and non-profit organizations.
“We believe that investing in the arts, education and a strong urban core is central to the vibrancy of our city,” said Jay Tomlinson, founding principal of Helix Architecture + Design. “Design is a key component of our commitment but equally important is our engagement in the broader issues that are impacting our community.”
The firm will consolidate operations into Helix’s existing headquarters in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. Existing Helix leadership comprised of Wiedeman, Tomlinson, Michael Heule, Bryan Gross, Kristine Sutherlin and Alissa Wehmueller will expand to include Blackbird principals, Moody, Hoiland and Evan Fox. The firm will continue to operate under the Helix Architecture + Design name but launched a new brand identity in tandem with the merger.
Every other year the IIDA Mid America Chapter honors design professionals that are leading the way in the region at their MADA ELEV^TE awards. We are incredibly proud that Helix’s own, Erin Stork was honored with the Aloft Award, which recognizes an emerging designer who has shown a fresh, artistic and thoughtful approach to interior design.
Anyone that has met, Erin knows the passion she exudes for design, but those of us who work alongside her get to see how that passion is applied to elevating how people experience the spaces around them. It is evident that for her, everything is about people. Not just how a space looks, but how it makes a person feel. She puts herself in the shoes of the user and completely immerses herself in the experience of each space.
Erin’s ability to communicate spans multiple mediums. She is adept at the latest technology but always fleshes ideas out by pen and marker first, creating extraordinary hand sketches that resonate with clients and help them understand how the vision translates through to each detail. Her enthusiasm is contagious to clients and coworkers alike.
As Helix principal, Jay Tomlinson shared, “Erin has an incredible eye. It is one of those innate traits in great designers that cannot be taught or trained – you either have it, or you don’t. Erin has it. She sees the world through a lens of beauty that is both refined and raw and has the unique ability to translate that in a way that brings others along for the ride. As she continues to grow as a designer she consistently applies her skills and passion in new ways. I am excited to watch her continue to grow into one of our city’s most brilliant designers.”
Erin is also committed to elevating the design community as a whole, which is reflected in her extensive involvement with IIDA. In her current role as the Communications Chair for the City Center Board, she has led graphic design and marketing for the organization’s recurring events, helping to create new identities that will make it easier to promote them from year-to-year.
Even prior to joining the board Erin was an active volunteer and committee member for some of IIDA’s largest events, including Color + Couture, the annual 5K, and Portfolio + Professionals. Erin also donated her time and design talent to assist local non-profit Live KC with the transformation of Barney Allis Plaza into “The Backyard” a hub of outdoor activity in the heart of downtown Kansas City.
Erin believes in the power of design to improve people’s lives and is a passionate advocate for the role it can play in elevating every aspect of our daily experiences. She brings this enthusiasm to her clients, our community and to our office each day. We are unbelievably lucky to have her as part of the Helix team.
Congratulations, Erin! This honor is well deserved.
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.
“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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 W. Wiedeman, FAIA
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
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, 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
It’s been a great year to be a Kansas Citian. We are incredibly proud of the milestones that our city, our clients, our projects and our staff have accomplished over the last year. Here’s a peek at some of the highlights….
We can’t wait to see what 2016 has is store!
Remember when we previously mentioned that our architects are multiplying? We really weren’t joking! Not only did five of our employees pass their respective licensing exams this year, but two of them were lucky enough to experience the birth of their first child. In 2015, both Mark Neibling and Jim Kersten became licensed architects and new dads. We typically use this opportunity to have a Q&A session with our newly licensed staff members, and this occasion was no exception. However, given this unique coincidence, we thought this would be a great opportunity for a game of “Who Said It? Mark vs. Jim”. But before we quiz you, it may be best to give you a little background on each:
Mark has spent a significant portion of his career at Helix working on the design and construction administration of the award-winning KCMO Police Headquarters. His creativity, knowledge of building materials, and meticulous care for detail has been to thank for the numerous awards and honors the project has received.
Loves: His Bicycle.
Most memorable Helix moment:
“Ushering a great project from inception to completion.
Working with a great project team; a group that could argue with each other really well.”
Jim Kersten :
He’s been known to introduce himself with a full-on pecha kucha. Jim can often be seen at Helix, commanding the ping-pong table in orange tennis shoes. Or at the Richard Bolling Federal Building with a hard hat and official name badge.
At Helix, Jim has been responsible for leading construction administration for the final phases of the Federal Building renovation. His resume also includes projects such as the Bryan Cave offices and the historic renovation of the Lowe and Campbell Building.
Loves: National Parks
Most memorable Helix moment:
“Probably the day the Great Seal was installed at the Federal building. That was a very complex project, but it turned out very impressive and as a bonus I learned a lot about the history of the Great Seal of the United States.”
Before our Q&A session concluded, we asked both Mark and Jim for some final, encouraging words.
Q: Any words of encouragement for other architects who are currently studying for and/or taking their AREs?
JIM: Just take one test at a time and eventually, after many hard years, you’ll get there.
MARK: Schedule your next test before you take your current test. Get it done. Now. Life does not slow-down
Q: Any words of encouragement for new dads?
JIM: Everyone always talks about the late nights, the lack of sleep, the worrying, but taking care of a little baby is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable things I’ve ever done. I have literally enjoyed every day with my boy.
MARK: Be supportive and kind to your wife. Always.
We are always looking for a good excuse to celebrate, and this year did not disappoint. We hope you had as much fun learning about our newly licensed architects and fathers. Congratulations to you both!