Browsing Leadership

29 October, 2015 | Leadership

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.

Helix Principal, Kristine Sutherlin Elected President of the Kansas City Architectural Foundation

Untitled-1

Congratulations to Helix principal, Kristine Sutherlin on being elected president of the Kansas City Architectural Foundation (KCAF) board. The organization has a tremendous impact on the Kansas City design community by granting scholarships to architectural students from the metropolitan area and hosting outreach events that educate citizens on the power of architecture to transform lives and improve the places where we live, learn, work, and play. Kristine has been involved with the organization since 2013 and recently finished a term as the organization’s vice president.

Since it was founded in 1984, KCAF has awarded more than 140 scholarships totaling over $250,000 to students from the Kansas City area. Over the next year the organization will be kicking off a capital campaign to increase the number and amount of student scholarships they provide.

Why is KCAF such an important organization for our community? We asked President Sutherlin herself.

“As college costs continue to escalate it is critical that we expand our reach within the design community. We want to make pursuing a career in architecture accessible for anyone that has a passion for this industry. Our scholarships have assisted some extraordinarily talented students and there is so much more that we can do as an industry to help support and train the next generation.”

Keep up the good work Kristine and thank you for helping to support young designers. We couldn’t be more proud to have you as one of the fearless leaders of our Helix family!


25 September, 2015 | Helix People, Leadership, Recognition

Katie’s “Magic” ARE Formula

CROWLEY Katie

Our licensed architects are multiplying here at Helix and we can barely keep up with sharing the news! We are excited to announce that another one of team members, Katie Crowley, is officially a licensed architect. What does that mean? It means that Katie passed the grueling seven-part Architectural Registration Exam (ARE), logged all the necessary Intern Development Program (IDP) hours, and can now officially call herself an architect.

Did we mention Katie is only four years out of school? She graduated from the University of Kansas is 2011 before joining Helix in 2013. Over the last year she has been working on the adaptive reuse of the 301 E. Armour building into multi-family residential apartments and the renovation of the James C. Olson Performing Arts Theater for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and UMKC. She was also recently selected for AIA Kansas City’s 2015-2016 class of the Pillars Leadership Program. She’s a bit of a dynamo.

We asked Katie to share her secret to success and what’s next.

Q: Any weird study habits?
A:  Flashcards + Coffee = The Magic Formula.  I became a regular at many coffee shops! By the end of it I started to get a lot of looks and comments from other regulars. They were all thinking, “Really you’re studying for another one!”

Q: While taking the exams, did you find that you have a favorite subject matter?
A: Surprisingly, I got really interested in learning about contract documents and the project management side of architecture.

Q: Any favorite pump up music or playlists?
A: I think I had a different Spotify playlist for every exam.  The playlists had a mix of every genre of song you could think of (variety was the key to keeping me awake during many late nights).  But, when things got really tough I could always rely on a good old school 90’s playlist!

Q: What do you plan on doing with all your extra free time now that you aren’t studying for your exams?
A: I love to train and run half marathons so I hope to find time to do more races.  Running a race through Napa is top of my list 🙂

Q: Any words of encouragement for other architects who are currently studying for and/or taking their AREs?
A:  Just keep going!  All of the tests seem really overwhelming and are a lot of work, but it is totally worth it.

There you have it! 90’s music, flash cards, and the promise of a half marathon through Napa. Congratulations, Katie! We are so proud.

 


Centurions Class of 2017

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce recently announced the Centurions Class of 2017 including Helix principal, Alissa Wehmueller. Anyone that has met Alissa through her involvement in IIDA, Kansas City Design Week, the Mayor’s Challenge Cabinet or her many other community activities know firsthand the passion she has for Kansas City.

Where does her love of this fine city come from? We asked Alissa.

You’re not from KC originally – what has kept you here?
Marrying a handsome KC native! Honestly, when I moved here I didn’t necessarily know if it was a long-term decision. But the growth and changes that have happened in this community in the last decade have been remarkable to see and be a part of. Kansas City is a great size – this balance between the amenities of a large city and the values of a small town. I believe your happiness in a place depends on what you put into it.

Who is a KC leader you admire?
Mayor Sly James! He’s brought an approachability and energy to City Hall that’s really special. I’ve seen him crash a table of designers at happy hour and have a quiet breakfast with friends at Union Station early in the morning – he’s present. I find myself bragging about how cool our mayor is to people outside Kansas City (not cool – frosty!) This has to be a fun time to be leading Kansas City, I’m sure it’s very hard work but I hope he’s enjoying it.

Why did you want to join the Centurions program?  
As my husband and I deepen our roots here, through our home, our careers and our family, I want this city to thrive and I feel a responsibility to contribute. I feel really lucky to be part of an industry that literally gets to build our community – create buildings and spaces for the people working, learning and playing here. I want to be educated and informed about the city, our needs, challenges and goals. I’m looking to Centurions to learn the best way to get engaged with organizations in a valuable way – I don’t want to fill a seat on a board to keep a chair warm, I want to help.

What do you hope to gain from the program?
Centurions has been tagged a ‘Master’s degree in Kansas City’, I like thinking of it that way. Everyone I know that has participated in the program has been very honest – it’s a big time commitment and a lot of work – but they’ve also said it’s one of the most rewarding things they’ve done personally and professionally.

Any advice for fellow transplants to KC?
Be present in the city – attend new events, get out to Kauffman, wake up early and get to the farmer’s market, wander around the plaza, get to know your neighbors. Bloom where you’re planted.

From all of us at Helix, congratulations and cheers, Alissa!

 


Cale the Architect

Helix is proud to announce our newest licensed Architect: Cale Sadowski. Cale joined Helix in 2011 after a four-year stint in New York City where, as a junior architect with Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, he worked on projects ranging from black box theatres to a 1,800-seat proscenium theatre.

Becoming a licensed Architect requires passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), which is a series of seven different exams totaling a grueling 33 hours. Since beginning his exams, Cale and his wife Ashley (also an architect) bought their first home and had their first child. If that’s not impressive enough, Cale also graduated from the AIA Kansas City’s 2014 Pillars Leadership Program.

We thought we would take this opportunity, while Cale is still in test mode, to give him a quiz of our own.

Q: What type of swag do you get now that you’re an architect?
A: I’ve jokingly considered getting my stamp tattooed on my palm, but I’ll probably settle for framing my license once it comes in the mail.

Q: When studying for your exams, did you have any favorite pump-up music or playlists?
A: Coffee and Sigur Ros (Icelandic Band with really atmospheric and ethereal sound, mostly instrumental). It was the perfect music for calm and focus without lulling you to sleep.

Q: Did you learn anything interesting about yourself while studying and taking the exams? A favorite subject matter?
A: Site Design. It’s inspired a lot of ideas about landscaping for my yard.

Q: Now that you’re finished with your exams, how do you plan on celebrating?
A: I’ll celebrate when my wife passes her last test, but the plan is to have a cookout and invite everybody we know.

Q: Anything else you want us (the world) to know?
A: Becoming an Architect is a LOT of hard work, but it’s a privilege to practice.

If you studied up on our recent personality trait post you also know that Cale is an INTP, otherwise known as the “quintessential architect”: inventive, creative, intellectual, and the most logically precise of all other personality types.  We couldn’t agree more.

From the Helix family – Congratulations, Cale!



6 February, 2015 | Helix People, Leadership

Rising to the Top

Last year was hard to beat!  Two major commissions came Helix’s way, the new Conservatory of Music and Dance building for the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a new Health Education building for the University of Kansas Medical Center. This year, the excitement continues with the announcement of two promotions, Bryan Gross to Shareholder and Alissa Wehmueller to Principal.

As Director of Interior Design, Alissa Wehmueller, IIDA, LEED AP oversees Helix’s award-winning interiors team.  Alissa’s experience with several high-profile corporate clients has led to her passion for creating a happier American culture through workplace design. She inspires groups seeking transformational change and brings a proven track record delivering workplace environments as innovative, playful, and fast-paced as the companies themselves. An expert in workplace trends, Alissa participated on an International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Round Table on the subject in Chicago, and serves on their chapter board.

Recently, Helix awarded Alissa the impossible challenge of leading the charge on our own workplace refresh.   We felt anyone who could convince the entire office to pour ice water over their heads (for the ALS Challenge) was the right person for the job.  Alissa enthusiastically embraced the opportunity as a chance to “practice what she preaches” and came out with flying colors.

An Iowa State University graduate, Alissa has made Kansas City her home, spending weekends restoring a historic home with her husband in Liberty.

Senior architectural designer, Bryan Gross, AIA, LEED AP leads Helix’s quality assurance efforts with regards to design.  Joining Helix as a Principal in 2004, Bryan is known for his steady leadership and constant pursuit of excellence.  He has led over two million square feet of Helix’s most prominent and complex projects including, most recently, the Health Education Building at KU Medical Center.  His talents have gained national recognition, most notably in Architect and Architectural Record magazines.

When not creating his next masterpiece, you will find Bryan mentoring any one of the firm’s architects.  He is Helix’s Rock of Gibraltar when it comes to detailing award-winning building designs.  But on weekends or after work you might see him racing through the streets either on foot or bicycle.  An avid runner and cyclist, Bryan is frequently running in marathons and biking to and from work.

Bryan is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the Architectural Association in London. A father of two, one of his children recently joined the profession as an intern architect in Toronto.


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.

26 August, 2014 | Leadership, Recognition

Newly-Named Helix Associates

Helix made two big announcements at this summer’s mid-year all-staff meeting. Jacob Palan and Andrea Glinn were named Associates in recognition of their leadership and contributions to the firm.

Staff architectural designer Jacob Palan leads Helix’s building information modeling (BIM) efforts.  Jacob developed new project delivery standards to improve workflow processes and has implemented firm-wide employee training.  Jacob has served as project architect for some of Helix’s most notable projects, including Sporting Innovation’s corporate headquarters in downtown Kansas City and the latest addition to the University of Kansas Lied Center.  Jacob’s work on Missouri Bank Crossroads was recognized nationally in both Architect and Architectural Record magazines.

Jacob is currently working with the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures to reposition its building for the next 20 years.

Interior designer Andrea Glinn leads the sustainability efforts at Helix.  As a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Associate) accredited professional, she is actively involved in setting the firm’s initiatives and implementing sustainable practices on our projects.  Andrea recently led the programming efforts for Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience’s new administration building overhaul and the interior design renovation of the historic Pickwick Hotel into market rate apartments. Both are expected to receive LEED accreditation.  She was also the designer for the “Forever Home” project which provides new offices and shelter for the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Agencies.

Andrea also has a passion for the arts and has been a part of the KC scene as an active member of Whoop Dee Doo performance art group, designer in the 2008 18th Street Fashion Show, and panelist of the 2014 Arts KC Catalyst Grants.

We congratulate both of you, Jacob and Andrea, and thank you for your leadership within our firm!


2 of 3123