Browsing Renovation

Corrigan Building Renovation Receives LEED Silver Designation from USGBC

The renovation of the historic Corrigan Building recently achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Helix worked closely with co-developers Copaken Brooks and 3D Development to develop a design that preserves the historic character of the building while achieving their goals for a sustainability. The renovation of the Corrigan Building was the first phase of the larger Corrigan Station development.

The Corrigan Building was built in 1921 and is located prominently along the new Kansas City streetcar line at 19th & Walnut. The 10-story, 123,000-sq,-ft. building  houses nine stories of office space with one story of ground level retail. The client’s vision of rehabilitating this nearly 100-year-old building into modern, flexible workspace has resulted in a 100% leased building at completion, attracting tenants such as WeWork, Hollis & Miller and Holmes Murphy.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is an ecology-oriented building certification program, concentrating its efforts on improving performance across five key areas of environmental and human health: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, sustainable site development and water savings.

In addition to maintaining and reusing 97.8% of the existing structure and envelope the renovation also reduced CO2 emissions by 41%, reduced water usage by 24.3% and reduced overall building energy usage by 35%, all over a baseline model. Additional sustainability features include: integration of an efficient VRF (variable refrigerant flow) HVAC system, low-flow plumbing fixtures, daylighting and efficient all LED lighting and a solar panel array canopy on the roof.

“Corrigan Station’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president and CEO. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Corrigan Station serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish.”

Construction is currently underway on Corrigan Station Phase II, also designed by Helix. Phase II includes an adjacent three-story structure at the corner of 19th and Main Street that provides additional retail space and covered parking on the first floor and office space on the second and third floors.

Helix had an incredible team of partners on the project — Straub Construction, Rosin Preservation, Lankford Fendler, PMA Engineering, SK Design Group and Vireo — that were instrumental to successfully delivering on the success of this large project. Congratulations to our clients on the revitalization of this historic gem and successful LEED Silver certification.

Photography by Bob Greenspan.


8 May, 2018 | Hospitality, Renovation

The Sundry Shares Sustainable Vision with Local Entrepreneurs

The Sundry  recently opened the doors to its new, 3,300-square-foot home in the annex building at Westport Commons, one of Kansas City’s latest co-working spaces. The Sundry owner, Ryan Wing selected the location for its proximity to like-minded entrepreneurs and partnerships that can help them expand their business.

As Wing shared with Startland News:

“Our goal is to scale up the availability of sustainable and local food, so that means we need to work with a lot of partners to make it happen. The more people you get in the space together, the more ideas enter the door.”

Having designed The Sundry’s original location in the Crossroads, Helix Architecture + Design was asked to lead the design of their new location. A local gathering space, The Sundry sells groceries, food and drinks to those working in the building as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. At The Sundry, guests have access to a full coffee and cocktail bar perfect for meetings or unwinding with friends. They can also take advantage of made-from-scratch, prepared meals at the on-site market.

The focal point in the new space is a open kitchen and bar, reflecting the company’s vision of transparency and commitment to local, sustainable food. Custom shelves suspended over the cooking area provide additional storage and allow guests to see ingredients on display. A large bar, traditional tables and lounge area offer seating for 100. To gain additional seating, Helix designed a lofted area above the private dining room.

In addition to serving restaurant goers, The Sundry has expanded their offerings with the new space. With direct access to a wide-range of entrepreneurs, they have already seen an increase in catering business and are planning future partnerships with other organizations housed within Westport Commons.


History of the Boley Building

Ten years ago, Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU), an international media and entertainment company, completed the renovation of the historically significant Boley building in the heart of Kansas City’s downtown for its new corporate headquarters. Needing additional space for their 200 plus employees, AMU incorporated the abandoned post-modern food court in the adjacent town center office building. The two opposing architectural environments became the challenge and inspiration for the workplace design, modern with a twist.

The six-story building was designed by acclaimed Kansas City architect Louis Curtiss and is one of the first buildings in the world to utilize a glass curtain wall system. At the time of completion in 1909, the curtain wall was an extraordinary structural design, and was not well-received aesthetically. Originally occupied by the clothing store Charles N. Boley, the building’s facade anticipated the future and popularity of curtain walls by 40 years.

In renovating the building, Helix developed a solution reflective of the whimsical and creative nature of AMU’s employees and the significant contributions the company has made to our culture through icons as Doonesbury, Ziggy and Cathy. Designed to stimulate synergy and inspire creativity, the contemporary, light-filled volume with its multi-story grand stair, expansive skylights and ground floor café, resonates with the energy of a company looking to the future while respecting its past.

The open office environment provides a variety of seating options, including lounges for small-group work. Touchdown meeting spaces off of elevator lobbies allows for quick and spontaneous conversation. Monitors provide opportunities to announce guests, upcoming events, and the latest weather and news. A large kitchen on the first floor is a favorite gathering place for employees, and it can also be used for larger community events.

Conference rooms provide technology infrastructure for meetings and group work. These rooms take advantage of the natural daylight that pours in through the skylight in the former food court.

Open workstations allow for easy collaboration. Custom shelving was designed to house AMU’s artwork and products. Marker and magnetic boards were accented with color to encourage self-expression and showcase employee creativity.

A central stair was introduced to promote synergy and well-being among company employees. The stair is wrapped in stretched fabric to allow daylight in, and it and utilizes LED lighting to represent the energy within.

Materials, color and furniture were chosen to tie together classic, elegant design with fun and play. We used bold colors to represent the playfulness of AMU’s work, as well as each business group encompassed within the company. The custom graphic wall-covering in coffee bars features bright colors and symbols of typography to represent the print side of the business. We also used wool fabrics – classic, long-wearing material in the same bold colors – on classic Knoll furniture pieces and wood (walnut) to represent the warmth and strength of organization.

AMU was recently featured in the Kansas City Business Journal for increasing net income by 40% in 2017. We’re delighted to see that ten years later, their headquarters is still serving AMU and their workforce well.


From Burlesque to Bulldozers: The History of Kansas City’s Folly Theater

The Folly Theater, Kansas City’s oldest standing theater, recently kicked off fundraising and plans to renovate their lobby and Shareholders lounge. In order to completely upgrade the theater’s hospitality experience, the Helix design team is re-opening the original connection between the second floor lounge and the lobby below, as well as reconfiguring the lobby to improve patrons’ flow throughout the space.

Original Standard Theater and program circa 1901.


Although Helix has renovated several of Kansas City’s historical theaters, the Folly’s history is unique among its peers. Opened in September 1900 as the Standard Theater, the venue first opened featuring Vaudeville. This entertainment genre was incredibly popular at the turn of the century and can be likened to an early version of a variety show, often featuring several acts including musicians, trained animals, comedians, acrobats, one-act plays and burlesque. The $250,000 building was designed by Kansas City architect Louis S. Curtiss (who is also known for his work on the Boley Building, home of Helix client Andrews McMeel Universal). A year after Standard Theater opened, the nearby Coates Opera House caught fire, and all opera and comedic opera performances were relocated to the theater, under its new name – Century Theater.

From top left, going clockwise: Architect Louis S. Curtiss, original architectural drawings, various vaudeville performance examples.


By 1922, vaudeville popularity had declined and the theater was closed, only to be re-opened the following year by the Shubert Brothers. The Schubert family is responsible for the establishment of the Broadway district in New York City and by 1924 they owned eighty-six theaters in the United States. Re-named (again) Shuberts Missouri, the new owners hired architect Herbert Krapp to renovate the balconies, reinforcing the wood structure with concrete, and began featuring theater productions throughout the mid 1920’s. Acts included The Marx Brothers, Shakespeare and O’Neill plays. The Shuberts subleased the space in 1928 to a burlesque troupe and in 1932 the theater was again closed.

From top, going clockwise: The Folly Theater circa 1941, a movie poster for the 1962 film Gypsy, the real Gypsy Rose Lee performs on stage.


The Folly Theater was born in 1941, and featured burlesque through two decades. Iconic burlesque dancer and entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee, whose memoirs were the basis for the stage musical and film Gypsy, is said to have taken the stage for the first time at the Folly. In 1958, ownership introduced movies to burlesque stage shows.

Finally in 1973 the theater closed and was slated for demolition. At this time, a local group of historic preservationist activists formed a non-profit, Performing Arts Foundation (PAC), led by Joan Dillon and William Deramus III. The group successfully saved the theater, with the City Council passing a demolition delay ordinance in March 1973. The theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places the following year and purchased by PAC.

Images of the Folly Theater during renovations during the 1980’s and various members of PAC.


For nearly ten years, the theater underwent extensive renovations, including considerable cleaning efforts, plaster repair, window restoration, roof repair, new M/E/P, updated HVAC systems and the addition of a new wing. The theater re-opened in 1981 with a staff of eight, featuring the comedy “Room Service.” Since the grand rehabilitation of this historic gem, the Folly has gained a reputation in town for their niche market. The acoustics inside the theater have been compared to Carnegie Hall, attracting musical acts from blues bands to chamber ensembles.

New renderings of the downstairs lobby and upstairs Shareholders lounge, provided by Helix.


As the Folly embarks on this latest renovation, the Helix design concept aligns with the character and history of the original structure. The project is the centerpiece of a $1.55 million campaign, which has already made major strides with a $775,000 donation from the Kemper Foundation.

The design revitalizes the lobby and shareholders lounge through finishes, furniture and lighting, while dramatically improving the functionality. A new curved bar area and ticket counter will be the highlight of the first-floor space. The curves of the bar, inspired by design details in the original lobby and theatre, will extend upward in the curvature of the columns. New floor tile, reminiscent of the early 1900’s, will continue into the original lobby, tying both spaces together seamlessly. The updated layout of the ticket counter, bar and lobby restrooms will allow patrons to flow through the space more comfortably. A new stair will invite guests to visit the second-floor lounge both before and after the show. Similarly, the addition of an elevator will allow this space to be easily shared by everyone. Lastly, the addition of a small kitchen on the second floor will allow for events to be catered more easily.

We’re thrilled to be working with such a fantastic client on such a beautiful piece of Kansas City’s rich and colorful history. Head over to Folly Theater’s website to view their list of upcoming events.


20 March, 2018 | Design, In Progress, Renovation, Workplace

New McCownGordon Construction headquarters will transform prominent corner in downtown Kansas City

McCownGordon Construction turned the first ceremonial shovel of dirt on the firm’s new downtown headquarters at 850 Main Street in downtown Kansas City this afternoon. Mayor Sly James, City Manager Troy Schulte and Kansas City Economic Development Council President, Bob Langenkamp joined McCownGordon leadership in expressing their enthusiasm for the project and its impact on downtown Kansas City.

The firm purchased the former Catholic Charities building at 850 Main in 2017 and has been working with Helix Architecture + Design, to design the new office space. Said Cherafat, “We are very intentional in how we grow and how we serve our clients and care for our associates and partners.  Our mission is to enhance the journey we are all on together so, as we outgrew our existing building, we looked for space that gave us much more room to grow, as well as a design that would embody our culture and our commitment to our Core Values of Integrity, Performance and Relationships. 850 Main and the design which Helix created for us does both.”

According to Gordon, the location, in the heart of downtown, was a primary factor in the firm’s decision to purchase 850 Main. “Since the beginning, McCownGordon has been committed to Kansas City. When it came time to find a larger home, there was no question that we would remain downtown.”  The firm moved to its current location of 422 Admiral Blvd in 2005, renovating the building, built in 1919, which housed Kansas City’s first Ford automobile dealership.

Erika Moody, principal for Helix, points to the design created for 850 Main as a truly transformational renovation. “When it is complete, this project will reinvigorate the corner of 9th and Main and be a prominent architectural addition along the streetcar line. The transparency of the design concept showcases an open, modern workplace while engaging those inside the building with the activities surrounding the structure.” The renovated building will include state-of-the-art amenities, including a comprehensive technology package, fitness center with yoga studio, expanded conference and collaboration spaces and a rooftop patio. “Our team worked closely with McCownGordon’s team to design a space that truly reflected their culture and their commitment to growth and opportunity,” added Moody.

(l to r) McCownGordon Construction’s chairman of the board, Brett Gordon and chief executive officer Ramin Cherafat speak to the crowd at the corner of 9th and Main in downtown Kansas City, MO to celebrate the company’s groundbreaking at 850 Main.


City manager, Troy Schulte, Jackson County Executive Frank White, McCownGordon chairman of the board Brett Gordon, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, McCownGordon chief executive officer Ramin Cherafat and Councilman Scott Taylor celebrated a groundbreaking for McCownGordon’s new corporate headquarters at 850 Main in downtown Kansas City, MO.


McCownGordon’s Chris Hampton operated a jackhammer to break ground on the firm’s renovation of 850 Main in downtown Kansas City, MO. When complete in early 2019, the building will house the growing construction management firm. Looking on (l to r) is City Manager Troy Schulte, KCEDC president Bob Langenkamp, McCownGordon chief executive Ramin Cherafat, Jackson County Executive Frank White and McCownGordon chairman of the board, Brett Gordon. Photos by Bob Greenspan.


Nancy Whitworth, vice president of strategic services for McCownGordon points to the many downtown amenities such as streetcar adjacency, a covered parking garage and proximity to the Power & Light District as an exciting component of the new office location.  “We strive to deliver the best building experience in all that we do,” said Whitworth. “That includes providing our associates with the best experience as members of our team. The location of 850 Main and its relationship to the excitement and growth of downtown Kansas City is an employee benefit that we are proud to deliver.”

The project is expected to take ten months to complete with the firm moving to the new location in early 2019.


15 March, 2018 | Hospitality, Renovation

Coffee + Cocktails for the Adventurous Spirit

Helix’s experience with hospitality design has provided the opportunity to work on some hidden gems throughout Kansas City. One of the latest to open is Nomads Coffee + Cocktails along 39th Street’s restaurant row.

Formerly the home of dive bar D.B. Cooper’s, the new Nomad’s Coffee + Cocktails was completely transformed by a local couple whose love of adventurous travel inspired the name and decor. A new wall of floor-to-ceiling windows make the warm wood tones and deep blue walls seem simultaneously bright and cozy.

Feast Magazine shared their take on the renovated space in their review of the new establishment:

“Now, the space has been entirely re-imagined as Nomads, a sleek coffee and cocktail bar with big windows, bright light and even cheese plates…The only familiar aspects from Nomads’ former dive days are the small ramp that leads you inside and a bar, which is in the same location as the last. But that’s where similarities end. The drop ceilings are gone, which makes the space feel considerably larger, and the walls are painted a cool, deep blue. Large-format adventure and travel photography follows the nomad theme, while floor-to-ceiling windows, which can be partially opened during periods of good weather, let light pour into this prime 39th Street location. A bar with eight seats lines the street-facing windows, and a tufted bench occupies the east wall where D.B.’s booths once sat. The rest of the space is filled with small wooden two-tops, ideal for sipping coffee or a glass of wine and working during the day.”

Nomads was the vision of husband-and-wife team Dr. Andrew Park and Dr. Megha Ramaswamy. Both Park and Ramaswamy are doctors at the University of Kansas Medical Center, just a few steps away. The Nomads name comes from the couple’s love of travel and photos featuring some of their trips line the walls. We loved working side-by-side with this entrepreneurial duo to bring their vision for the space to life.

The whole Helix team popped in for happy hour soon after the opening and can attest to the facts that the cocktails are as lovely and thoughtfully crafted as the space itself.

Photography by Bob Greenspan.


26 February, 2018 | Historic Renovation, Renovation, Workplace

Kansas City Crossroads: Taylor Building History + Renovation

The Taylor Building renovation was completed ten years ago. This turn-of-the-century dry goods building was built in 1902 by Root & Siemens. With the majority of its original exterior features intact and in good condition, the building retains a high degree of historical integrity. Today, the building is home to creative agency Bishop McCann, an industry leader in producing meetings, incentive programs and events worldwide.  

Using boutique hotels as inspiration for the design, the historic building was modernized while adhering to the national Parks Services standards for historic renovations. A sleek and modern elliptical staircase was inserted into the center of the “lobby” space, becoming the counterpoint to the rough masonry shell. Private offices, meeting spaces and a large communal gathering space spiral off the stair, now the social center point for this highly successful and fast-growing company. A 20 ft. chandelier was custom designed to further accentuate the hospitality aesthetic, and a deck was added to the rooftop to accommodate a resort-like meeting destination.

Bishop McCann has now become an event space in itself, hosting community events and celebrity guests. Michelle Obama chose this space for her headquarters during the 2008 presidential campaign.


31 January, 2018 | Historic Renovation, Renovation

Kansas City Crossroads Revitalization 15 Years Later

Fifteen years ago we celebrated the opening of the Webster House after a complete renovation that restored the historic character of this architectural gem. The project was the first of numerous completed by Shirley Bush Helzberg in the Crossroads Arts District. Since that time, vacant buildings and empty lots throughout the Crossroads have been transformed into one of Kansas City’s most vibrant neighborhoods. From that first project, we have had the opportunity to work alongside Helzberg as she has invested in the neighborhood, block by block, restoring buildings and inserting new structures.

One of the many places that her investment is evident is at the intersection of 17th and Wyandotte, where Helzberg has revitalized all four corners. This intersection was once part of Kansas City’s historic Film Row, where every major Hollywood Studio had distribution offices from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. After the film houses moved out, many of these buildings sat vacant or substantially underutilized until they were acquired by Helzberg.

The projects on these four corners merge past and future to create a bustling business district by day and a thriving cultural district at night.

Webster House (Northwest Corner)

Helix designed the adaptive reuse of the historic Webster House School, the oldest standing school building remaining in Kansas City, into a restaurant and boutique. Originally designed by local architect Manual Diaz in 1885 and constructed the same year, the Queen Anne Style educational facility was rescued by Helzberg from years of neglect and disrepair. The main level of the three-story facility features fine antique galleries and retail showrooms. The second floor features a full-service dining room, a pub and a large-capacity catering kitchen. Original classrooms are now used for banquets, receptions and meetings.

The project, which received federal and state historic tax credits, was designed in accordance with the National Parks Service (NPS) guidelines for historic preservation.The masonry-and-wood exterior was completely restored to its original condition, which included the reconstruction of the original bell tower. Many of the interior finishes, such as the grand stair, were recreated with reference to their original character. Other features, like the stained-glass windows, were reconstructed with historical accuracy.

 

Vitagraph Building (Southeast Corner)

Constructed in 1930 by the Warner Brothers, the Vitagraph Film Exchange Building underwent a full-scale renovation in 2012. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Art Deco structure was originally designed as a film warehouse and distribution facility and is now home to the offices of the Kansas City Symphony and the headquarters for Global Prairie, an integrated communications firm.

The Helix team designed the project in accordance with NPS guidelines for historic preservation and achieved LEED Gold Certification, one of only eight buildings at the time to achieve this level in Kansas City. Unique historic features of the structure were carefully reconstructed, including the building’s original decorative plaster, terrazzo floors, marble and limestone finishes, as well as the distinctive cast-in-place structural grid that features decorative concrete ceilings throughout. A new 40-space, two-level parking structure built adjacent to the Vitagraph Building provides covered parking as well as a green roof terrace that serves tenants.

 

Webster Garage (Northeast Corner)

The Webster Garage was built to support three underserved entities nearby: The Webster House, the Vitagraph Building, and members of the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra that perform in the adjacent Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Strategically located between the three user groups, the structure, which houses 185 cars, freed up once-utilized parking lots for new and more dense development. Retail space along 17th Street has an adjacent courtyard surrounded by planter beds. Work from a prominent local artist is integrated into the structure. Concrete and masonry materials were selected to provide both durability and an aesthetic that relates to the surrounding neighborhood.

 

1700-1710 Wyandotte (Southwest Corner)

The three buildings from 1700-1710 Wyandotte were renovated into modern office space that house new tenants to the Crossroads Arts District. 1700 Wyandotte was formerly owned by Universal Studios and operated as the Midwest storage and distribution for the Midwest. The two properties at 1706 and 1710 needed considerable work and were consolidated into one larger office building. All three buildings underwent complete renovations, including exterior restoration, new buildings systems and the addition of rooftop terraces with views of the Crossroads neighborhood and downtown Kansas City as an amenity for tenants.

As the neighborhood continues to welcome new businesses, residents and cultural assets we are proud to work alongside trailblazers like Helzberg who have helped make the Crossroads what it is today.


15 November, 2017 | Awards, Hospitality, Renovation

Boulevard Brewing Co.’s Tours & Recreation Center Wins ‘Professional’s Choice’ at AIA KC’s annual Design Excellence Awards

Each year the Kansas City architecture community gathers to celebrate the latest and greatest design within our city at AIA Kansas City’s Design Excellence Awards. We are honored that one of our projects – the Boulevard Tours & Recreation Center – was selected by our peers for the “Professionals Choice” award.

Helix worked with Boulevard Brewing Co. to transform a 1920’s-era warehouse into a destination for tours, tastings and experiencing Boulevard Brewing Company’s culture. The concrete frame and masonry skin of the building were in exceptional condition but the interior had been turned into office space in the ‘90s. The design team stripped the interior down to its raw, industrial roots revealing beautiful exposed concrete and original brick walls.

The program demanded openness and connectivity throughout the facility to enhance traffic flow and to maximize each visitor’s experience. While the existing building presented constraints, the design concept integrated two large perforations up to the second floor to create a new circulation path and provide clear flow throughout the building.


Boulevard’s unwavering commitment to authenticity, sustainability and craftsmanship was expressed through the selected materials as well as numerous collaborations with local craftsman, who created custom installations in almost every aspect of construction. As a zero-waste company, special attention was giving to employing recycled and repurposed materials, strategies for energy efficiency, reduction of water use and construction waste recycling.

The project has been an overwhelming success, attracting out-of-town visitors and locals, alike. In addition to being recognized by AIA Kansas City, the project has also received a Gold Award in the Hospitality Category at the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Mid America Design Awards (MADA), a Capstone Award from the Kansas City Business Journal and a Cornerstone Award from the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation.

Design, engineering and construction partners included: Carpenter Collective, Crossland Construction, BGR Engineers, Bob D. Campbell, Santee Becker, Walter P Moore Civil Engineering, Palomino Woodworks, Hammer Out Design and KC Structural Steel.

Take a look at the new Tours & Recreation Center in this walk-through video:


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