Browsing Recognition

New Helix Promotion

We are pleased to announce Kate Hulsen, Helix’s director of marketing and business development, was recently elevated to principal. In her role, she leads the execution and oversight of all marketing and business development initiatives across the firm’s core markets.

Over the course of her career, she has worked exclusively for architectural firms, cultivating a deep understanding of the profession and Kansas City. Since joining Helix in 2015, Kate has become a valuable asset to the team. Her drive and extensive knowledge of the local business community have helped our firm secure highly competitive pursuits, such as the Kansas City Art Institute student housing project, DEG Headquarters and Missouri State Hill Hall renovation.

Kate graduated from the Kansas City’s Chamber of Commerce Centurion’s Leadership Program in 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Public Administration from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

We asked her a few questions to help you get to know her a bit more.


What led you to a career in architecture?

I have been around the architecture industry my whole life – my dad is an architect in St. Louis. He owns a small firm there where I worked in various capacities for as long as I can remember. I did everything from collating specs as a small child (back before printers could do that for you – when each page was individually typed and photocopied!) to answering phones in high school and eventually, handling accounting systems when I was in college. Although I studied marketing in college, I love working around all of the creative personalities that exist in a design firm.

 

What brought you to Helix?

I have a deep love of old, historic buildings. As long as I’ve been in Kansas City, I’ve known about the work that Helix does revitalizing them. It is one of the things that drew me to the position here. It is really incredible to see new life brought into old, neglected structures. Getting to learn the stories behind these buildings and watch the transformation from design through construction is pretty incredible. I also really value the firm’s commitment to only do work that has a positive impact on the community, as well as the extensive community involvement of the firm and firm leaders.   

 

What do you love most about your job?

Getting a behind the scenes look at projects that are transforming our city. Since the majority of Helix’s work is in Kansas City, I get to see the impact our projects have all around us.  

 

Do you have any hobbies?

I love to travel. My husband and I have been working our way through the National Parks since we met. We are taking our little one on a road-trip through Germany and Austria this spring – fingers crossed we survive the international flight with a one year old!

 

What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Betty Rae’s s’mores ice cream

Congratulations Kate!


18 December, 2017 | Awards, Design, Recognition

Helix & UMKC Announce 2017 Bud Prize Competition Winner

Bud Prize finalists, left to right: Lauren Uhls, Tania Chavez and Rachel Baier.

Each Fall, Helix Architecture + Design teams up with the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning & Design for the Bud Prize – a design competition and scholarship grant awarded to students attending UMKC. The annual scholarship was created in honor of the late Bud Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix when he unexpectedly passed away in 2002. The award recognizes the his vibrant life and work by promoting the study and knowledge of architecture and design.

This year, in honor of the eclipse, ten second-year students were challenged to design a new (fictional) building for the UMKC Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, complete with a planetarium and an observatory. Students developed drawings and models for their design concept, which they presented to the jury for feedback last Thursday afternoon.

Helix principal Doug Stockman served on the jury this year, alongside:

Joy Swallow – UMKC AUP+D, Chair
David Oliver – UMKC AUP+D Advisory Board
Aaron Schump – KSU Dept. of Architecture, Professor
Mark Brodwin – UMKC Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Astronomy Professor
Derek Moore – SOM, KCI Airport Team

There were so many exceptional projects that the jury decided to share First Prize between Tania Chavez and Lauren Uhls, and awarded Honorable Mention to Rachel Baier.

Each year the student presentations and celebration reception are open to the public so follow AUPD on Facebook for updates on future competitions.


8 December, 2017 | Awards, Helix People, Recognition

Evan Fox named AIA KC’s Volunteer of the Year

Each year AIA Kansas City recognizes individuals and organizations that have had an exceptional positive impact on the local design community at their annual holiday party. Last night Helix principal, Evan Fox was honored with the “Volunteer of the Year” award.

Since moving to Kansas City seven years ago Evan has been a leader in the local design community and an active member of Kansas City’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) — serving as AIA KC Design Awards Co-Chair and the AIA KC Pillars Steering Committee Chair. 

“Evan was named the 2017 Chapter Volunteer of the Year for his constant support to AIA Kansas City,” said Kristen DaMetz, AIA Kansas City Communications Director. “Evan has been a thoughtful and reliable volunteer. His help has touched many of the programs that AIA Kansas City provides from Design Excellence Awards and Pillars to Education Outreach and our website redesign. We can always count on Evan to lend a hand or an idea.”

Throughout the course of his career, Evan has worked on prominent corporate and developer led projects throughout the Midwest, including Corrigan Station and the Creamery Building renovation in the Crossroads Arts District; AMC’s Theatre Support Center in Leawood, Kansas; and Olsson Associates Headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. Prior to moving to Kansas City he worked in Chicago on corporate headquarters and high-rise residential projects.

In addition to overseeing staffing, project management and technology initiatives for the firm, Evan is a mentor to his fellow team members. He is known for his wealth of knowledge on the technical aspects of architecture, new technology platforms that enhance efficiency/communication and rock bands of the 70’s.   

Congratulations, Evan. In honor of this occasion we will crank up the Journey and toast to you this afternoon!  


14 September, 2017 | Helix People, Recognition

Ellen Hailey, AIA

Ellen Hailey
We are excited to announce Ellen Hailey is officially a licensed architect. She has passed all seven of the Architectural Registration Exams (ARE), logged the required Intern Development Program (IDP) hours, and can now formally call herself an architect.

A New Orleans native, Ellen graduated from Tulane in 2012 and joined Helix in 2017. Over the last year, she has been working with clients, such as BicMedia, DEG and Copaken Brooks. We asked Ellen to share her secrets to success and how she plans to celebrate.

Q: Any weird study habits?

A: Keeping my headphones in with no music playing. I was reading a lot of dense material, so I couldn’t always listen to music, but having the headphones in seemed to help me focus.

 

Q: While taking the exams, did you find you have a favorite subject matter?

A: I actually found the vignettes to be sort of fun. This is the drawing section of the exam, using the NCARB software. Each ARE has at least one. Some as many as three. You get a problem to solve (like designing a stair and ramp or laying out a building) with a limited time to draw your solution to satisfy code and ADA standards. I enjoyed the problem solving aspects, and there is usually little time left to overthink your solution!

 

Q: Any favorite pump up music or playlists?

A: I found this song My Only Swerving by El Ten Eleven in Spotify’s Focus playlists section. I think I listened to it a million times..

 

Q: What do you plan on doing with all your extra free time now that you aren’t studying for your exams?

A: Enjoying my weekends a lot more!

 

Q: What was your first thought after finding out you passed your last exam?

A:  Total relief! I took my last four in about six months, so I was constantly studying. After I passed the final one, it was weird to realize I didn’t need to jump to the next and could just relax.

 

Q: How did you celebrate?

A: I went out to see a band called We Are The Mummies at Knuckleheads. They are a funk band that performs completely dressed as mummies. It was a strange and good ending to a stressful month.

 

Q: Any words of encouragement for other architects who are currently studying for and/or taking their AREs?

A:  Always sign up for another one! I had trouble making time to study unless I had set a test date. I tried to sign up for my next exam right after I finished one – even before I knew if I had passed. I still gave myself some time between to relax, but wanted to push myself to keep moving forward.

 

Congratulations, Ellen! We are so proud.


28 June, 2017 | Helix People, Recognition

Congratulations to newly certified interior designer, Kate Phillips!

We’re proud to announce our newest certified interior designer: Kate Phillips! Kate joined Helix in 2016 and has since worked with clients such as Academy for Integrated Arts, DEG and The University of Kansas Medical Center. When she’s not improving workplaces around Kansas City, she’s busy planning the next big office party. 

NCIDQ Certification is the highest level of certification in the interior design profession. The exam is taken in three sections, all of which candidates must pass to become certified.  We thought we’d take this opportunity to hear about Kate’s secret to success:

Q: When studying for your exams, what rituals did you have? Any pump-up music or favorite snacks?
A: During the summer I enjoyed “multi-tasking” by laying out at the pool while reading through my textbook. However, studying for the Practicum in the winter was far less exciting. My dining table disappeared under piles of trace paper, post-its, and practice tests. I also listened to a lot of alt-J and The Japanese House in those months.

Q: Did you find a particular favorite subject matter?
A: I really enjoy puzzling together a space plan.

Q: Now that you’ve passed exams, how do you plan on celebrating?
A: A bottle of Veuve and a nap.

Q: What advice would you give any designers out there studying for their certification?
A: Practice tests are key! You not only have to learn and memorize the material, but I found it was just as important to know how the test was formatted. Also, make a study schedule and routine that works for you and stick with it.

From your Helix family — Congratulations, Kate! We’re celebrating with you on achieving this incredible accomplishment.


Helix Principal Takes Home Top Honor with IIDA

Alissa Wehmueller, Principal, was presented with the International Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) 2017 Member of the Year award at their Annual Meeting in Chicago on Sunday evening.

This award is given to an IIDA member whose commitment to the industry is visibly demonstrated through extensive volunteer efforts and dedication to the organization’s mission of advancing interior design and advocating for its excellence. The recipient receives $7,500, as well as a complimentary 2018 IIDA membership.

Alissa has served in various leadership roles within the IIDA Mid America Chapter, including Chapter president. She was also instrumental in helping the Chapter win two Chapter of the Year awards. Under her guidance, the Chapter has added mentoring opportunities, provided preparation for interior design licensing exams and advocated for statewide registration of the interior design profession.

“Every IIDA chapter needs and wants an Alissa Wehmueller. She celebrates accomplishments and then, asks what’s next. The Mid America Chapter has clearly benefited from her vision and ability to share it well.” said Erika Moody, Principal, Helix Architecture + Design.

Alissa’s work with Helix includes (top left going clockwise) the Boulevard Tours & Recreation Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield KC headquarters, Olson Performing Arts Center at UMKC and Service Management Group’s headquarters.


In addition to her service with IIDA, Alissa was also selected for this honor, because of her commitment to uniting the Kansas City design community. She co-chaired Kansas City Design Week  on behalf of IIDA from 2013-2015 and collaborated on the creation of the Center for Architecture and Design, which brings together design professionals across the city.

“My involvement with IIDA has truly been one of the most impactful things I’ve done in my career. The skills I’ve learned, the resources I’ve found, initiatives I’ve been able to see through and the relationships I’ve made in Kansas City, as well as within the national design community, are invaluable,” said Alissa.

Watch the IIDA 2017 Annual Meeting in which Alissa was awarded (1:20:00 mark):

Congratulations Alissa! We’re proud to work alongside you and look forward to what’s yet to come.


1 June, 2017 | Culture, Helix People, Recognition

Helix Employees Celebrate 5 Years with the Firm

We’re pleased to share three Helix employees are celebrating their five-year anniversary with the firm. In that group, you’ll find our resource librarian, Marcie Miller Gross; interior designer, Erin Stork; and our office concierge, Nina Grimes.

To thank them for their service and mark the milestone, they received a $1,000 voucher to be used for travel of their choice. These are given to team members for every five years of service. We capped off the festivities with a new tradition –  a celebratory lunch.

Thank you to Marcie, Erin and Nina, for your contributions, dedication and friendship. Helix greatly benefits from the gifts and talents each of you bring.


26 April, 2017 | Awards, Design, Recognition

Four Helix Projects Take Home Honors at Mid America Design Awards

Four, very different projects were recognized at the Mid America Design Awards ceremony last Friday. This biennial event honors interior design work within the Kansas City and Wichita areas based on innovation, functionality and implementation of overall design intent and brand.

MADA Celebration

Although the projects couldn’t be more diverse – a brewery, non-profit, workplace and university library, they share several similarities. To begin, all four feature the adaptive reuse of a historic building, blending original elements with each new owner’s aesthetic. But perhaps more importantly, all four were designed with the end-user in mind. Whether welcoming more guests or offering new services, the completed projects are helping each client better serve their community.


Boulevard

Boulevard Brewing Company

TOURS & RECREATION CENTER: GOLD, HOSPITALITY

Boulevard Brewing Company had outgrown their original tasting room, causing them to frequently turn away guests. To accommodate the increasing crowds, they purchased a historic, 1920’s, brick building adjacent to the brewery with the goal of transforming it into an expanded destination. The completed space provides an immersive learning experience, including playful exhibits that share the history of beer making and the origins of Boulevard. Their renovated building is full of handcrafted, artisanal touches – just like Boulevard’s beer. Since opening, they’ve been able to double the number of tours and visitors they can accommodate every day, and the beer hall has become a hub for community events, like yoga classes, charity events and presentations from brewers.


Creamery

The Creamery Building (3D Development)

GOLD, CORPORATE MEDIUM

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Creamery Building had been vacant for years despite its prime location in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. It was renovated to serve the needs of smaller, office tenants and entrepreneurs, who weren’t represented in the marketplace. The design team leveraged the constraints and character of the historic structure to create a flexible series of suites with corresponding amenities that would attract small, yet discerning tenants. The interior finishes in the shared spaces draw upon the existing architecture and industrial history of the building. The raw palette is carried into the suites, allowing tenants to move in without requiring a large investment. The resulting design provides an elevated brand identity beyond average small office suites.


Synergy

Synergy Services

JENNIFER & JAMIE CHILDREN’S CENTER: SILVER, CORPORATE SMALL

Synergy Services was forced to turn away 300 children from their SafeHaven women’s shelter last year due to lack of space. Through a generous donation, the organization received a 2,500-square-feet, nearly 100-year-old farmhouse on a wooded, six-acre site. The home itself was not large enough to address their full programming needs, so we created a plan to renovate the house and build an addition that was safe and welcoming for children of all ages. Drawing inspiration from the site, the design team created a concept reminiscent of a camp or cabin. The finished space feels warm and welcoming with wood finishes and many connections to the surrounding acreage, unlike traditional temporary foster shelters. With the new center, Synergy has been able to serve twice the number of children they did in the past. 


Norrington

Park University

NORRINGTON CENTER: SILVER, HIGHER EDUCATION/RESEARCH

Built in 1908, Norrington Hall originally served as the campus library until those services were relocated in the 1980’s. At that time the interior was converted into a patchwork of office and classroom spaces. In 2015, Park University initiated a renovation to return it to its original roots as a state-of-the-art library and academic commons. The design concept celebrates the historic aspects of the building, while inserting fresh uses and a modern feel to the spaces. The primary design drivers pivot on the notion that the new Norrington Center is not a 20th century library stacked with books and dust, but a 21st century student center filled with learning activities of all types, from individual study, one-on-one tutoring, group work and technologically advanced classroom learning. As Park University had hoped, the Norrington Center has quickly become an asset to students and faculty, providing a welcoming space for gathering, learning, and celebrating with Pirate pride.

Congratulations to our interior design team and our clients who allowed us the pleasure of creating these spaces for your organizations. Successful projects are only achieved through strong relationships across all team members and these awards belong to all of you.

Photos of Boulevard, The Creamery and Norrington Center by Michael Robinson. Photos of the Children’s Center provided by JE Dunn.


23 March, 2017 | Awards, Recognition

Four Helix Clients Honored at Kansas City Business Journal’s Capstone Awards

Across Helix’s diverse portfolio of work there is a common thread – creating spaces that have a positive impact on our community. Four projects that exemplify this approach will be recognized this evening at the Kansas City Business Journal’s Capstone Awards ceremony.

The Capstone Awards celebrate projects that have demonstrated excellence in commercial real estate development over the past year. Whether it is an transforming a historic structure for a new life, providing a welcoming space that serves children or creating one of the city’s most celebrated hospitality venues, our clients continually receive accolades for investing in buildings that make our community a better place to work, learn and play.

We are honored to work alongside each of these organizations to bring their vision to life.


Boulevard Tours & Recreation Center

BOULEVARD BREWING CO.

Tours & Recreation Center – Adaptive Reuse Category

Boulevard Brewing Co. hosted approximately 60,000 tour guests in 2015. However, the limited size of their existing space meant they were turning away thousands of additional visitors. In response, Boulevard acquired the four-story, 87-year-old Skelly Oil building located immediately adjacent to the brewing campus and transformed it into their new Tours & Recreation Center. The first floor features an “Experience” area with exhibits about beer and Boulevard, an expanded retail shop and a larger tasting room. The 10,000-square-foot second floor is devoted to a Beer Hall and features a new 1,250-square-foot deck with outdoor seating and downtown Kansas City views.

 

Kansas City University Administration Building

KANSAS CITY UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE & BIOSCIENCES

Administration Building Renovation – Adaptive Reuse Category

Originally home to the first Children’s Mercy Hospital, this 100-year-old building was acquired by KCU in the 1970s. Today, the newly renovated building functions as both the Administration Building and Welcome Center. A new open floorplan provides increased accessibility and amenities, including a Welcome Center, coffee bar and shared social/study spaces for the building’s 1,000+ users. The project achieved LEED Gold certification. This preservation and modernization of the building reflects KCU’s past, and celebrates a future of continued collaboration, research and service to the communities it serves.

 

Synergy Services Children's Center

SYNERGY SERVICES

Jennifer and Jamie Children’s Center – Community Impact Category

The new Jennifer and Jamie Children’s Center expands Synergy Services’ ability to provide shelter and services for children who’ve been abused, neglected or have other serious family problems. In addition to renovating the existing 2,500 sq. ft. home located on the property, Synergy invested in 6,500 sq. ft. of new construction on the site. The Center, which serves children from infancy to age 12, allows Synergy to double the number of children they are able serve. The project is designed to be a welcoming hopeful space, avoiding the institutional feel that most temporary foster facilities have.

 

Corrigan

3D DEVELOPMENT / COPAKEN BROOKS

Corrigan Station – Mixed-Use Category

Located prominently along the city’s new streetcar line, the 100-year-old Thomas Corrigan Building was renovated to create 9-stories of office space and 1-story of ground-level retail in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District. Helix worked closely with co-developers Copaken Brooks and 3D Development to develop a design that preserves the historic character of the building in accordance with National Park Service preservation guidelines. The building, which was largely unoccupied prior to renovation, has already attracted new corporate tenants to downtown Kansas City, including national coworking space WeWork.


Congratulations to our clients and the teams of architects, designers, engineers, craftsmen and contractors that helped make each of these projects a reality.

You can read about the full list of 2017 Capstone Award winners on the Kansas City Business Journal’s website


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