Browsing Renovation

New Life for a Historic Kansas City Treasure

We are fortunate to work on projects here at Helix that often make us step back and think, “wow…we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful city.” The recent renovation of the historic Baltimore Club building is one of those projects.

Standing on the rooftop event space you can’t help but feel proud of downtown Kansas City and the transformation that continues to take place. Take a peek for yourself…

Baltimore Club2

The building itself is a Kansas City treasure featuring ornate details and a rich history. The event spaces, recently renamed the Brass on Baltimore, offer a balance of historic character (the stain glass windows in the Tudor room are extraordinary!) and modern amenities.

Helix Architecture + Design, Baltimore Club

Helix transformed the penthouse apartments on the 15th floor into a new indoor-outdoor event space with stunning views of downtown Kansas City.

Helix Architecture + Design, Baltimore Club

What an amazing place to host a party!

Helix Architecture + Design, Baltimore Club

How lucky are we that we get to help bring spaces like this to life?

Cheers to you, KC!

You can find more info on the Brass on Baltimore event spaces on their website and more about the building’s history as the Kansas City Club on our recent blog post. The renovation was also featured recently in the Kansas City Business Journal.

All photos credited to Michael Robinson Photography.

Video Credited to Blackburrow Creative.

11 November, 2015 | Renovation

Rave Reviews for the Newly Renovated National Museum of Toys & Miniatures

Dollhouses, Star Wars figurines, pedal cars and the world’s largest fine-scale miniature collection are just a few of the treasures you will find at the newly renovated National Museum of Toys & Miniatures. After a year-long $8 million renovation, the museum reopened on August 1st to rave reviews and the Helix Architecture + Design team couldn’t be more proud of the results.

KC Parent said, “Wow, this is one amazing makeover! A streamlined entry and revised floorplan simplify things for visitors but retains the magic and whimsy we’ve loved for years.”  Spaces Magazine said, “This hidden gem is definitely on its way to being a main Kansas City attraction.” And Visit KC shared some of their favorite finds, including the two-story spinning helix “Toytisserie” sculpture created by artist Sarah Lugg Regan.

Steve Paul’s editorial in the KC Star highlighted the collaboration between the Helix design team, museum leaders and exhibit designer, West Office to reconfigure the space. The result is “a bright and fresh new layout and a wholly transformed exhibit strategy.”

The Pitch recognized the, “newly reopened, stunningly improved” museum in their “Best of Kansas City” awards saying, “we’re not sorry to say childlike wonder is what we felt when we toured the renovated space.” And, most recently Wired magazine noted it as a must-see in their article spotlighting Kansas City.

Over 72,000 toys and miniatures call the museum home, but we couldn’t resist highlighting one of our favorites – the miniature Vitra furniture!

We also love Sarah Lugg Regan’s process of creating the “Toytisserie” from 330-gallons of toys donated by local Kansas-citians. KCUR did a great feature on the installation.

We highly recommend you go check it out yourself. Info on the museum’s hours and their collection can be found on their website.

All images credited to Aaron Dougherty Photography.


KCPD Renovation + Expansion

Helix_KCPDHQ_ExtDet_0219_LRHelix had the privilege of working with the Kansas City Police Department and City of Kansas City, Missouri on the recent renovation and expansion of their downtown Police Headquarters. The renovation was designed to re-position the facility for another 70-years of service to the community, and to do so while respecting the character of the historic structure.

Helix_KCPDHQ_11514 1_LR

An important goal of this project was to increase transparency and expand Police interaction with the community. This involved extensive changes to the first floor including a monumental public lobby, unobtrusive security, and the addition of a large community meeting space.


Beyond addressing space requirements, the Police Department wanted to create a welcoming first impression for visitors, and a facility suited for collaboration, efficiency, team-building, and celebration. Central to the design, too, was the need to communicate the Department’s rich history of community service. The new addition on the ground floor allows the public to engage in the Board of Police Commissioners meetings and serves as a venue for Police community outreach programming.


The renovation addresses many years of deferred maintenance and features energy saving and water conservation strategies. Increased indoor air quality, natural light, and accessible routes provide a modern workplace for the Police and equal access for the public.

The project scope also included repairing the core and shell of the building – including exterior masonry restoration, building envelope improvements, window and roof replacement, streetscape design and systems upgrades. The systems upgrades are housed in an addition to the north of the historic structure, which increased useable space within the historic structure.


The city’s commitment to LEED guided design decisions toward sustainable solutions. Anticipated to receive LEED Gold certification, sustainability features include: re-use of existing building materials, integration of efficient HVAC systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, daylighting and efficient lighting, and a green roof.

Images by Micheal Robinson Photography



7 July, 2015 | Renovation

If Walls Could Talk

It’s no secret that we love old buildings. So when our design team was presented with fifteen stories of ornate details, unparalleled views, and some of the richest history in downtown Kansas City, we were beyond excited.  As we’ve learned, every renovation provides a chance to not only breathe new life into a space, but connect people to its history and uncover some pretty amazing stories along the way. The Baltimore Club Renovation was no exception.

Built in 1920, the 15-story building was originally created as the home of the Kansas City Club, a private gentlemen’s club established in 1882. The building was designed by local architect, Charles A. Smith, and included a large dining room, several bars, meeting rooms, a banquet hall, athletic facilities, an indoor pool, and a rooftop terrace. Situated on the floors between these amenities were six stories of guestrooms, which have now been converted into rentable lofts. The building remained the Kansas City Club’s clubhouse until 2001 when it merged with the University Club and moved to a nearby downtown building.

Notable members of the Kansas City Club have included Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Omar Bradley, and political boss Tom Pendergast.

Appearing on the National Register of Historic Places, the original 1920s structure  is a stunning example of elaborate, gothic Tudor detailing and old-world craftsmanship. The building features a limestone and brick exterior with terracotta detailing, while the interior showcases the original hand-hewn walnut, carved stone, and ornate plaster.

When the Helix design team was tasked with reinvigorating 40,000 square feet of event space, we knew we had to pay homage to the building’s history, while bringing the space up to modern, functional standards. Helix designed the project in accordance with preservation guidelines and received both state and federal historic tax credits.

Renovation of  the luxury event spaces on the 1st-6th floors, included restoration and updates to the original Lobby, Press Room, Tudor Room, Walnut Room, and Library. The project also included the complete renovation of the 15th floor, which had been converted to apartments in 2002, and the addition of an outdoor terrace that offers 180-degree views in downtown Kansas City. Operable glass walls between the terrace and the interior provide a remarkable indoor-outdoor experience. A key design feature within the space is a custom-designed trellis ceiling, made from painted, 3/16” aluminum – reminiscent of the original ceiling design.

The 15th floor event space was once an open roof garden and terrace, and was referred to as “Just the place for a cooling drink in tinkling glasses.” As members of the Kansas City Club were quoted saying, “the stars will be at our fingertips.”

The Helix team has been thrilled to work with the Baltimore Club, transforming this historic landmark into a new-era event space.  We look forward to continuing to watch the history of the building become enriched by those who experience it. Cheers!

For more information, including renovation progress photos, historic images, and event space inquiries, follow The Baltimore Club on Facebook and Instagram.

Open PhotoThe Kansas City Club in the 1930s The Kansas City Club in the 1930s
Open PhotoForemens Safety Meeting - Kansas City Club, January 28,1937 Foremens Safety Meeting - Kansas City Club, January 28,1937
Open PhotoThe 15th Floor Roof Bar - complete with custom aluminum trellis ceiling and corrugated brass bar front. The 15th Floor Roof Bar - complete with custom aluminum trellis ceiling and corrugated brass bar front.
Open PhotoSchematic elevation drawing of the 15th floor trellis design. Schematic elevation drawing of the 15th floor trellis design.
Open Photo“The Roof Garden had been extremely popular for members and their guests, and in September 1954, the Board approved a total expenditure of $300,000 to enclose the Roof. Plans were announced in the June 5th, 1955 edition of the Kansas City Star. The Grand Opening of the Starlight Roof took place on February 8th, 1956. Over 600 members were in attendance at the opening of the Starlight Roof atop the Kansas City Club.” “The Roof Garden had been extremely popular for members and their guests, and in September 1954, the Board approved a total expenditure of $300,000 to enclose the Roof. Plans were announced in the June 5th, 1955 edition of the Kansas City Star. The Grand Opening of the Starlight Roof took place on February 8th, 1956. Over 600 members were in attendance at the opening of the Starlight Roof atop the Kansas City Club.”

A New Addition to Kansas City

Two hundred people showed up for the ribbon cutting and grand “re-opening” of Kansas City’s newly refurbished downtown Police Headquarters designed by Helix.  The afternoon offered rare behind the scenes tours of the project to the general public and an exhibit on the history of the police department.

The original building was designed by prominent Kansas City architects Wight & White  (also designers of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art).  Police Headquarters along with City Hall and the Jackson County Courthouse buildings form a civic plaza in the heart of the government district downtown.  Work is concluded on the first full renovation of Headquarters since it was constructed in 1938. The $28 million remodel was funded by the quarter-cent public safety sales tax approved by voters. The renovation provides adequate space and up-to-date facilities for administrative and investigative employees of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. It includes the addition of a tower on the north side of the building and a spacious community room. Police Headquarters is now compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Visitors will be able to view the numerous historical artifacts and photos on display from the KCPD’s 140-year history, thanks to the Kansas City Police Historical Society. To read more, check out the latest article in The Kansas City Star!

Award Season

Award Season is upon us, and Helix-designed projects have been taking the stage- and in some instances- dominating it!  This month we are celebrating the success of 18th &Vine’s Highland Place re-development, as it has proven deserving of the state’s Preserve Missouri Award and Historic KC’s Preservation Award under “Best Preservation Practices.”  Last Friday’s Capstone Award Ceremony recognized three Helix projects: The Richard Bolling Federal Building (with 1.2 million gross sf), Webster Garage in Kansas City’s Crossroads, and Sporting Innovation’s renovation of the historic Lowe and Campbell Building (which also received a Historic KC Award, under “Contemporary Design”).

We want to thank everyone who contributed to the success of these projects!

22 June, 2012 | In Progress, Renovation


Click for larger image

Here’s an excellent photo of the paint removal process at the west entrance of KC Police Headquarters.  Workers are using glass beads to blast away the layers of paint from the bronze facade of this Helix project.

Helix Renovates Police Headquarters

Photo Credit: Keith Myers

The $21 million renovation and expansion of the Kansas City Police Headquarters was featured in the Kansas City Star today.

“We’ll bring it back to the original, and the ornamental crown molding on the ceiling will be restored,” said Reeves Wiedeman, a principal at Helix Architecture & Design, the project architect. “All will be restored to the original design.”

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