2022 Year In Review
The start of a new year brings reflection on past achievements and eager anticipation for the year to come. This year was marked with incredible successes that wouldn’t have been possible without our determined team and aspirational clients. As we continue to gain inspiration from our community and strive for design excellence, we look forward to another prosperous year.
On Earth Day, we celebrated this year’s theme, Invest in Our Planet, by reflecting on sustainability in health education design. Over the years, sustainability has become a part of the definition of design excellence, and Helix is continuously striving for making sustainable design an inherent part of work.
The Kansas City Art Institute said goodbye to Nerman Family President Tony Jones, who retired at the end of June. Helix had the privilege to work alongside Jones in transforming the fabric of KCAI’s campus through work on the Barbara A. Marshall Residence Hall. His dedication to elevating the student experience has culminated in state-of-the-art facilities and created a ripple effect throughout Kansas City’s cultural arts community. We were also honored to host new Nerman Family President Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar at a special reception at our office later in the year.
We cheered on the Kansas City Current as they made it to the NWSL Championship. Rising up alongside Kansas City, our firm celebrated the Current’s first playoff appearance by reflecting on our favorite red and teal projects.
James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Smith brought his passion for Italian cooking to Kansas City in 2019 with Farina. When designing Chef Smith’s new space, the Helix team was challenged to find harmony between his desire to recreate the ambiance of rustic Italy in the heart of Kansas City. This year, he was featured for his path from a childhood in Texas to award-winning Kansas City Chef.
Helix Principal Bryan Gross, AIA received the 2021 Distinguished Alumni – Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design (ArcD). The award recognizes ArcD alumni who have realized outstanding success in their distinguished careers.“Bryan is not wired to take shortcuts or to conduct his work in nothing but the most disciplined and design focused fashion.” – J. Todd Achelpohl, AIA, Adjunct Professor, KU ArcD.
Clay Phillips, AIA joined our team as a principal and higher education practice leader. Phillips brings a robust portfolio of higher education experience, having worked on more than 20 campuses across the country with projects that range from hospital and laboratory spaces to student life and instructional spaces.
Helix President, Erika Moody was elevated to the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) College of Fellows. This is the highest honor that the IIDA bestows upon its members. She joined five other professionals whose activities and efforts have benefitted and enhanced IIDA, and whose design work has significantly influenced the design profession. Erika continues to serve as a Vice President on the International Board for IIDA.
Our partnership with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri is an opportunity to engage young girls to consider architecture as a possible career path. This year, Helix hosted a “Design a Restaurant” event including a multi-step activity that mirrors our own design process.
Being designers, we value and encourage art of all kinds. MICRO is a student design firm within the Kansas City Art Institute with the opportunity for students to connect with businesses within the city that they will be a part of someday.
Award season was busy for Helix this year. Starting with the Mid-America Design Awards, Helix brought home two awards in the higher education category. The Kansas City Art Institute Residence Hall received a gold for its juxtaposition between wood, glass and concrete. Additionally, The Kansas City University Center for Medical Education Innovation (CMEI) received a silver for its attempt to stay future proof and team based approach. Bringing home two awards from the AIA Kansas City Design Excellence awards, the CMEI also received a citation award and MCPL Colbern Road received a Merit Award for Architecture for intentional design that celebrates community.
Construction is well underway for multiple branches of the Mid-Continent Public Library. The Green Hills Culinary Literacy Center has become a destination for the community featuring a coffee shop, a demonstration kitchen, and two full size kitchens for food-based business. Along with the Grain Valley branch, these two are expected to be completed in 2023.
The KCU College of Dental Medicine broke ground in 2021 and is anticipated to be completed mid-2023. The school will serve rural communities in Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas by providing access to affordable, quality health and dental care. The College received initial accreditation status from the Commission on Dental Accreditation in March.
We celebrated the completion of the reimagined Sedgwick Hall by seeing the classroom and lab spaces in use by students. Not long after that, we returned to Rockhurst University’s campus for the groundbreaking of another building, the Alvin Brooks Center for Faith-Justice.
In addition to higher education and community projects, we have had a number of multifamily projects make progress this year. Occupying all four corners of the Armour and Troost intersection, The Crosswalks has been steadily rising out of the ground this year. We even spotted a new neighbor while checking out the site with a drone camera.
To round out our main markets, we were challenged to support a new integrated workplace model that helps companies use their office space as a way to recruit and retain talent. Taking their brand and work style into consideration, we designed meaningful, yet functional spaces like the First Federal Bank of Kansas City headquarters and the PayIt office.
Helix partnered with philanthropist and developer Shirley Helzberg on a multiphase development that will comprise offices and multifamily. Based on a 20-year partnership that includes projects like the Webster House, Blossom House, and multiple projects at the intersection at 17th and Wyandotte, the relationship between Helix and Shirley bodes well for the latest Crossroads development.