Browsing Sustainability

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.


5 Ways to Improve Workplace Health with the WELL Building Standard

With the start of a new year, it’s natural to focus on health and wellness. While many of us set goals for a balanced diet and working out, we often overlook improving a large component of our day – the workplace.

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) was founded on the belief that improving the quality of a building can help people work, live and perform at their best. Studies, like one from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) back up their assertions. It found that companies who earned high marks on its HERO Health and Well-Being Best Practices Scorecard, which was done in collaboration with Mercer©, outperformed the 500 largest U.S. companies on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index over a six-year period.

To improve health in work environments, IWBI released the WELL Building Standard in October of 2014. They cover seven, core concepts of health: air, nourishment, fitness, mind, water, light, comfort and innovation. Alissa Wehmueller, Principal at Helix Architecture + Design, saw how the program could benefit our clients and decided to pursue and ultimately, achieved her WELL AP designation.  

“We’ve been encouraging clients to implement many of these strategies for a while. However, this program goes a step further, providing measurable metrics, as well as a breadth of data, to support these ideas,” said Wehmueller.  

Like LEED, WELL’s tenets can be incorporated into spaces whether or not a company is pursuing full certification. The program covers 105 elements, or features, giving buildings and organizations a number of ways to make their work environment healthier.

“With so many initiatives to choose from, knowing where to start can be daunting. If you’re ready to make some changes, start by talking to your associates first. Find out the biggest concerns in the office, along with which ideas associates are most excited about and work to address those,” said Wehmueller.

WELL accounts for the entire workplace experience, covering everything from air quality to an employee’s physical comfort. Here, Wehmueller shares five strategies that can improve workplace health using the standard as a guide.

  1. Support mental health.

    There are number of ways that a well-designed office can improve an employee’s mental health from encouraging healthy sleep habits to providing connections and access to nature. Flexibility is another important element. Research has shown a connection between job satisfaction, as well as a group’s cohesiveness, to the presence of varied spaces that support different workstyles. The WELL Standard says work environments should offer spaces to work, focus, collaborate and rest. This means providing a combination of quiet zones, collaborative spaces and multi-functional workstations for team members.

  2. Reevaluate lighting.

    Effective lighting design, offering access to daylight for our bodies’ circadian rhythms, workstations positioned to reduce glare and daylight modeling are just a few of the thirteen ways the WELL Standard addresses light. Natural daylight and access to views of nature are critical components of supporting employees’ overall well-being and healthy sleep habits.

  3. Reduce distractions.

    Internal noise can lead to decreased productivity, particularly in open offices where distractions and interruptions are frequent. However, there are a large number of acoustic solutions and design practices companies can use to ensure each employee has a comfortable place to focus. Impact reducing flooring, sound barriers, sound masking and sound reducing surfaces can help companies enhance their teams’ performance and ability to focus.  

  4. Foster healthy nutrition.

    Eating habits are often influenced and reinforced through cues in our environment. Currently, only 8 percent of people consume the recommended four servings of fruit per day, and 6 percent consume the recommended five servings of vegetables per day. Providing access to healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables and communal cooking areas can foster healthier decision making. WELL also suggests the reconfiguration of dining environments to increase the appeal and visibility of nutritious foods. Providing convenient bottle refilling stations with filtered water and signage to encourage drinking water reminds associates to stay hydrated.

  5. Start moving.

    Encourage employees to take the stairs by making stairwells open and accessible. Another method to incentivize movement is to add physical activity spaces or make changes to the building’s exterior, such as designing cyclist and pedestrian-friendly environments. Organizations can also supplement gym memberships and fitness programs to encourage an active lifestyle outside the office.

Organizations with healthier employees can not only increase productivity and retention, but also reduce health insurance costs for individuals, as well as their businesses. With a variety of elements to choose from, there are multiple ways to reap the benefits of the WELL Standard. Discover which features are the best fit for your organization by contacting us at info@helixkc.com to schedule a space evaluation.


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

 

 


11 October, 2013 | Sustainability

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.

30 September, 2013 | Design, Sustainability

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.

25 October, 2012 | Awards, Sustainability

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, 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.

 


Helix Goes Solar!

This week, the installation of the Helix Roof Top Solar Array has been coming to a close. Thanks to Brightergy for working through this heat, Helix will now be able to harness and monitor the solar power beaming upon our building. Here are a few images of the array installation overlooking the KC skyline.


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