Browsing Sustainability

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 


Creating a “Better Block”

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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntwqVDzdqAU

Open PhotoThe chosen site for Kansas City's second annual Better Block demonstration is situated at the corner of 19th and Main Street. The chosen site for Kansas City's second annual Better Block demonstration is situated at the corner of 19th and Main Street.
Open PhotoAfter the Better Block installation, a full-scale KC Streetcar mock-up and kiosks representing corresponding development bring new energy and life to the same location as pictured above. After the Better Block installation, a full-scale KC Streetcar mock-up and kiosks representing corresponding development bring new energy and life to the same location as pictured above.

Public Interest Design Institute Comes to Kansas City

Design Corps and the SEED Network recently collaborated to bring the Public Interest Design Institute to Kansas City for a two-day conference. The conference was inspired by the ideas and efforts of notable Public Interest Designer Bryan Bell, who has sparked a global movement toward a new approach to design. Public Interest Design goes beyond the typical scope of projects which simply address the architectural needs of the client and community to also consider social, economic, and environmental impacts.

Conference participants were introduced to global and local examples of PID projects. Through an open forum, presenters exchanged opportunities and challenges encountered in PID projects and also discussed the use of the SEED (Social, Economic, and Environmental Design) metric system as a framework for project development.

Public Interest Design has grown in popularity in the field of architecture through publications such as Design Like You Give A Damn, exhibits like MoMA’s Small Scale, Big Change, and organizations such as Architecture for Humanity. Inspired by the ideas and experiences shared at the conference, Helix is eager to implement PID projects and utilize the SEED metric to evaluate design efforts. Helix also intends to include the valuable information and resources gained into future participation with Better Blocks Kansas City and the HOPE Center via Eco Abet.

Open PhotoRebuild South Sudan, Jalle School: Investing in a community with few physical resources and a large population of refugee residents, Rebuild South Sudan recognized an enormous need for education. The Jalle Peace School will include a library, classrooms, computer center, administrative offices, and community space. The standing structure proudly marks the completion of phase one in a three phase project. Rebuild South Sudan, Jalle School: Investing in a community with few physical resources and a large population of refugee residents, Rebuild South Sudan recognized an enormous need for education. The Jalle Peace School will include a library, classrooms, computer center, administrative offices, and community space. The standing structure proudly marks the completion of phase one in a three phase project.
Open PhotobcWORKSHOP, Congo Street Initiative: Engaged in a street transformation of a socially and economically fragmented area of Dallas, bcWORKSHOP partnered with residents and homeowners to develop housing solutions appropriate to the community residents with a high level of design. Place and permanence were key concepts to the Congo Street Initiative; a holding house was first implemented on a vacant lot on the street to allow residents to stay near their home while construction continued on their own residence. bcWORKSHOP, Congo Street Initiative: Engaged in a street transformation of a socially and economically fragmented area of Dallas, bcWORKSHOP partnered with residents and homeowners to develop housing solutions appropriate to the community residents with a high level of design. Place and permanence were key concepts to the Congo Street Initiative; a holding house was first implemented on a vacant lot on the street to allow residents to stay near their home while construction continued on their own residence.

1515 Walnut: Sustainable Urban Living

For the past 30 years, Helix co-founder Jay Tomlinson has made a tremendous impact on the revival of Downtown Kansas City. As an architect, Jay has salvaged, restored, renovated, and reconstructed over 50 buildings in the Downtown and Crossroads neighborhoods. Many of these structures exist as cultural icons within the cityscape. Community staples like the Mainstreet Theatre, the Midland Theatre, the College Basketball Experience, and Webster House, just to name a few, have helped to rejuvenate the urban core and attract visitors as well as locals to the area.

At 1515, Jay’s first personal development seeks to infuse the area with one crucial component, the people necessary to support and sustain the existing dynamic scene that is Downtown Kansas City. The redevelopment of the historic building will include two retail office unites on the first level, six urban lofts on the second level, a third story penthouse addition for him and his wife Leslie. The project will be net zero with all electrical needs being met by a solar array installed on the rooftop.

With all that he has put into Kansas City professionally, it’s only natural that he and his wife would continue support the growth of the urban core in their personal endeavors. Living in the heart of the city supports the cultural, economic and community development that continues to revitalize the area.

For more information on the project, please follow the links below:

KC Business Journal: Pia Abatement
KC Star: Housing Redevelopment Projects

Open PhotoJay and Leslie Tomlinson “Urban Pioneers” in front of 1515 Walnut. Jay and Leslie Tomlinson “Urban Pioneers” in front of 1515 Walnut.
Open PhotoRendering of the renovated residence. Rendering of the renovated residence.

Architect’s Top 50

Helix is proud to announce that, as a firm, we are 48th in the U.S. in Design Excellence/Pro Bono architecture and 37th in Sustainability according to ARCHITECT Magazine’s 2012 Top 50 survey.  Check out the other firms around the nation that were recognized by clicking on the image above.


1 October, 2012 | Design, Innovative, Prototype, Sustainability

Transmaterial

The in-house material library at Helix is pretty fabulous, but it pays to keep an eye out for something different. Our librarian, Marcie Miller-Gross, is always on the lookout for what is new and exciting in the world of architecture and design. Transmaterial is one resource she looks to for information and relays some of the more intriguing articles around the office for inspiration.

Thought that solar energy could only be harvested from flat panels? Rawlemon of Barcelona suggests something new: β.Torics, a spherical solar technology. We definitely believe in solar energy here at Helix – it will be interesting to see where this prototype goes!

Another interesting development is Flex, a new lighting system by 3M.

 



The Green Screen

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The Green Screen at the Reeves Wiedeman Company HQ on Main Street is growing strong.  The screen, half covered in the middle of the seasonal growth period, exemplifies the steps people can take to reduce their impact on the earth.  Helix implemented this design feature to help the project reach LEED Gold certification.


5 September, 2010 | Culture, Recognition, Sustainability

Helix Bikes/Walks/Carpools its Way to First Place!

A few weeks ago we shared with you that Helix was taking part in the Green Commute Challenge; a regional competition hosted by the Mid-Amaerica Regional Council aimed at removing vehicles from the road during peak times – which in turn positively impacts the city on rather unfortunate ozone days.

45 teams, and 1,158 people participated in the challenge, effectively saving:

  • 607,658 miles of driving
  • 562,042 pounds of emissions
  • $328,743 in driving costs

Helix came out on top of Small Employers, and overall ranked third in participation points when compared to all competitors! Way to go, team Helix (and take that, competition). Well done to all participants for taking part in a two-month event that sought to positively impact not only our environment, but our city. If you’re curious about what your own commute costs you in dollars, and how it effects the environment, take a look at the emissions calculator, provided by KCATA.


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