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.