Last week, the very influential Architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable passed away at the age of 91. As an Architecture Critic in New York City, Ms. Huxtable offered insight into the relationship between architecture and human nature. She was most notably known for “celebrating buildings that respected human dignity and civic history — and memorably scalding those that did not”. Her impact on the world of architecture will not be forgotten.
Ada Louise Huxtable was the first person to win the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism in 1970.
Click photo for link to Ms. Huxtable's bio in the NYTimes.
Keep your eyes open for the July/Aug issue of Architectural Lighting Magazine. Helix’s design for the Power & Light Utility Bridge won Commendable Achievement in this year’s Light and Architecture Design Awards. The bridge was one of only eleven projects chosen from a pool of over eighty entries to be featured based on outstanding lighting design and innovative solutions.
The mixed-use Prairiefire at Lionsgate development will be located in Overland Park along 135th Street
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City
Helix has begun schematic design on The Museum at Prairiefire which will serve as a cultural landmark in Southern Johnson County. What is unique about this museum? It will house the first and only remote branch of New York’s famous American Natural History Museum (featured in the film A Night at the Museum). The American Natural History Museum will be displaying 20 popular and highly acclaimed traveling exhibits in our area over a ten year period. Look forward to visiting our city’s newest cultural landmark while visiting the other attractions in development for Prairiefire at Lionsgate on 119th between Nall and Lamar. www.celebrateprairiefire.com
Construction continues on the renovation of the historic O.H. Dean building at 3635 Main Street. The Reeves-Wiedeman Company purchased the building and is making it their new headquarters. It’s a really great thing to see a 125 year old company move its headquarters back into KC’s urban core, where it was started.
These construction progress photos show an element of the building we are very excited about; those black tubes you see sticking out of the ground are actually the water loops that the building will use to heat and cool itself. By taking advantage of the constant ground temperature of 55-57 degrees, the building’s mechanical system will be super energy efficient. In all, 24 wells are spaced along the rear parking lot of the building, and each well is 300 feet deep! Energy savings will offset the added capital costs of this system in 5 years; after which the savings keep accumulating. When your intention is to buy a building and hold it long term, ground source heat pump systems are the way to go. And, the energy tax credits available today can make the payback even shorter.
As Shirley Helzberg’s third big production in 10 years, the historic Vitagraph Film Exchange Building at 17th and Wyandotte proved to be her most challenging. Fighting through city reviews, permits, and TIF financing approval, Shirley persevered to create a true work of art in Crossroads. The call sheet included a utility pole disappearing act, new set lighting, and a long scene where a very cool parking garage just seemed to emerge from nowhere!
This is not the Vitagraph’s debut appearance. It has been associated with the film industry for years as a Warner Bros. warehouse/distribution facility. Today, however, the building’s leading anchor tenant role will be played by the Kansas City Symphony. Helix’s Trudy Faulkner and Jay Tomlinson who have worked with Shirley on prior productions will once again be added to the credits of another successful preservation of Kansas City history.
Yeah yeah, crumbling interior, asbestos problems, improper plumbing, bla, bla, bla. Been there done that, says Helix. From the looks of this video, Trozzolo isn’t too worried either.
Trozzolo bought a “gem” and asked Helix to help remove the quotation marks. It will probably take some late nights by Jeff, Lora, Mason, Jay, and Kathy, but this talented team will have the 5 story abandoned pile of $@*# whipped into shape before you can say “Gee Whiz Nice Building.”
The Kansas City Design Center runs a fifth-year design studio for architecture, interior design and urban design students from both the University of Kansas and Kansas State University Schools of Architecture. This past Friday, April 30, was the final end-of-year critique for the 18 students that elected to do their final year of studies in this dynamic Kansas City design lab. Located on Baltimore Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets, the Design Center studio focuses on urban issues and design opportunities within the Kansas City area. This year the focus was on the Crossroads Arts District, the area of KC where Helix’s office resides. Because of our familiarity with the area, and since many of our projects are located within the Crossroads, Bryan Gross was invited to be one of the local design professionals that spent the day examining and critiquing the student projects. The projects included a small pocket park on Southwest Boulevard, a plan to expand Washington Park to the north across the railroad tracks and into the Crossroads, multiple proposals for magnet schools, a media center, residential buildings and parking structures. Many of the projects included proposals to enliven the arts focus of the area with art galleries, outside film projections, and exterior performance spaces. All of the proposals were thoughtful and would have a positive impact on the area.
The Design Center also sponsors public lectures and discussion forums that feature leading architects, urban designers and others interested in design, architecture, and the development of a livable urban context. More public dialogue on how specific areas of KC can expand and evolve can only help our city become a more dynamic, creative and competitive place, and we applaud the Kansas City Design Center for initiating that effort.
On March 18-19, Dale Duncan visited the United Nations Headquarters in New York and made a presentation on sustainable development of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) model village centers to world leaders at the Infopoverty World Conference. This conference was organized by The Observatory for Cultural and Audiovisual Communication in the Mediterranean and the World (OCCAM). According to Dale, the trip was a huge success and big step toward solving global poverty issues.
Backing up a bit for some history… In the last 10 years, the UN, in their quest to reduce world poverty, has developed ICT model villages for impoverished and disadvantaged communities. The current model stresses the importance of satellite connectivity and e-services among other ideas.
Recognizing that sustainable development in these models is the next obvious step, Helix and ACI (Affecting Change International) developed a model for a village center made of discarded shipping containers. Breaking the concept into three separate functions – medical, educational, and sustainable – Dale presented the efficiencies and economy of housing these functions in self-contained, durable units. Among the initiatives discussed were ways to provide tools for conserving water, managing wastes, and providing distance education to remote communities. His ideas stressed the importance of adapting the contents of each village center to regional needs via partnerships with organizations that have existing relationships with the communities served.
The team members working on this project included David Neeley with ACI and multiple Helix associates: Dale Duncan, Lora Everett, Trudy Faulker, Linda Glazier, Sarah Godfrey, Bryan Gross, Ryan Hunter, Erica Muhlenbruch, Mark Neibling, Jacob Palan, Carly Pumphrey, Andrea Regnier, Shawn Sanem, Dustin Schafer, Curtis Simmons, and Kristine Sutherlin.