In the midst of sickness and sluggishness that cold weather brings, a contagious case of holiday cheer recently spread through the Helix office. A large group of Helix employees eagerly participated in the annual “We Care” event this year and subsequently transformed our resource library into something resembling an elf’s workshop. “We Care,” hosted and sponsored nationally by Herman Miller, took place last week at the Thornberry Boys and Girls Club for the event’s Kansas City region. The design community came together for a joy-filled evening of creating and sharing holiday crafts with local children. Over 13 architecture and design firms participated, along with a variety of dealer partners, alliance partners and volunteer groups. By the end of the night, our industrious group of Helix elves had supplied over 125 custom-decaled scarves to appreciative children.
For Jay Tomlinson, this year has brought high-profile recognition to his lifetime achievements. During the annual Kansas City American Institute of Architects Installation of Officers this past Tuesday, Jay was named the AIA KC “Architect of the Year.” This title follows his recent ArtsKC Virtuoso designation and the most prestigious AIA acknowledgement possible, his election to Fellowship earlier this year.
Dubbed an “architectural alchemist, urban revitalist and arts supporter” by ArtsKC, Jay’s transformative efforts are being recognized in big ways. Perhaps his success at creating significant architecture, enhancing artistic endeavors and resurrecting Downtown Kansas City is due to the fact that he views these initiatives collectively, rather than individually.
We congratulate Jay on his most recent 2013 award and, more importantly, the accomplishments that have earned him the recognition!
Last Friday, Helix’s Matt Kleinmann and Carissa Loehr played crucial roles in developing Kansas City’s second ever Better Block KC event. Better Block’s objective is to imagine a ‘complete streets’ vision where temporary design concepts are implemented to highlight the potential viability of a more walkable and sustainable community.
This year’s Better Block focused on introducing the Crossroads neighborhood to a tangible expression of the proposed KC Streetcar. Working with members of such organizations as USGBC, HDR, and KCRTA, Helix sponsored the display of a full-scale streetcar mock-up. The mock-up gave the public a very real experience of how a pedestrian-oriented streetscape can become a catalyst for transit-oriented development.
For more information regarding the concepts addressed in the Better Block model, visit the following link:
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).
We believe in out-serving our client’s expectations.
Helix believes in making smart, progressive, and environmentally responsible choices.
Helix believes in setting the standards others follow.
Read more about the KCPD East Patrol Campus in one of our previous posts.
Last week, the very influential Architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable passed away at the age of 91. As an Architecture Critic in New York City, Ms. Huxtable offered insight into the relationship between architecture and human nature. She was most notably known for “celebrating buildings that respected human dignity and civic history — and memorably scalding those that did not”. Her impact on the world of architecture will not be forgotten.
Ada Louise Huxtable was the first person to win the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism in 1970.
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!