Architecture and Design

All-female architecture firm celebrates renovation of historic Liberty landmark

All-female architecture firm celebrates renovation of historic Liberty landmark

Women of A3G (clockwise from top): Owner, Aimee Gray, Melanie Torres (R), Brandi Atwell (Bottom) and Faith Page (L).

VanTrust, JE Dunn, and HOK partnership takes flight with TIA deal

VanTrust Real Estate, JE Dunn Construction Co., and HOK have leveraged their collective strength in the Kansas City market land a large-scale office development project adjacent to Tampa International Airport (TIA).  

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (HCAA) awarded a contract to VanTrust to develop a 9-story, 270,000-square foot office building near TIA, which served 21 million passengers in 2018. The tower will be the first commercial structure linked to the airport by a people mover.

“This will be a Class A office building in an excellent location with unrivaled access to Tampa International Airport,” said TIA Executive Vice President Chris Minner. “With easy connectivity to the Airport, downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, this is really the ideal location for a wide range of companies.”

Located in a prime spot in the new SkyCenter development, the building will feature an elevated pedestrian walkway connecting its atrium to the SkyConnect station at the airport’s rental car center. Other amenities include a conference center, fitness center, café and access to multipurpose trails that will eventually join with Tampa Bay’s regional trail network.

 The building will serve as the primary home for HCAA employees and will comprise the nerve center for all airport operations. By relocating its in-terminal offices to the new building, HCAA is making way for expanded curbside service, with express lanes for passengers who aren’t checking bags.

Construction should be completed in 2021. VanTrust is leading development of the office building and adjacent parking garage; J.E. Dunn will provide construction services of the office building, and HOK will handle design. 

Game On takeaway: 'Were all technology firms. We just don't know it yet'

The Kansas City region's internationally acclaimed sports construction and AEC industry was the topic of MetroWire Media's Game On Sports and Entertainment Event on Thurs., March 7 at Children's Mercy Park. 

Here are some highlights from our star-studded lineup:

"The conversations we used to have are so outdated, it's amazing. Every year the conversation changes... The stuff that Silicon Valley is developing now will hit the sports industry in a couple years and it will blow your mind." -Andy Heitmann, VP Construction, Turner Construction.

"We're all technology firms. We just don't know it yet... Technology is impacting everything we do... From security to fan engagement, it's driving the fan and athlete experience." -James Dietz, AVP, Henderson Engineers.

“We have spent a lot of time developing sponsorship integrations that create great fan experiences. The idea is that venues and teams have opportunities within the built environment to tell stories using sponsor dollars as opposed to team’s dollars.” -Justin Wood, Partner, Dimensional Innovations

"The most important thing we can do is to create adaptable frameworks for buildings... 5G is on the way and that will transform the experience." -Kelly Holton, senior designer, Populous

"Engaging people with the live experience is our focus and challenge." -Jeff Sittner, Burns & McDonnell Sports Design Build team leader

"How do we take what we know about the fans and deliver what they want? It begins with knowing who is in the building." -Jason Houseworth, President, FanThreeSixty.

Special thanks to Sporting KC Executive Vice President John Moncke for serving as guest speaker and to our Platinum Sponsor, Turner Construction.

Click here to view a slideshow of our Game On event!

Hufft helps Tuft & Needle become sleeper retail success story

Thanks to startup mattress company Tuft & Needle, architecture and design firm Hufft has found a soft spot in today’s hard-pressed retail market. 

The online industry disrupter chose Hufft last year to design its experiential prototype store serving the Kansas City market, a project so successful that 10 additional stores are planned for 2019 in addition to stores in Portland, Ore. and Raleigh, N.C.

"The idea was to create a space that felt like home, making the mattress buying experience a little less intimidating," Hufft Design Principal Dan Brown said. "It can be uncomfortable to lay on the bed with your significant other or yourself."

Hufft's concept store in Leawood replaced the sea of flat mattresses and harsh lighting typically found in mattress stores with soft lighting and four semi-private rooms where customers can test mattresses and meet with a "no pressure" sales rep if needed. Orders are placed via iPad and shipped directly to the home.

“It’s exactly what people are talking about when they talk about the future of retail being experiential,” Brown said. “It’s lean, customer centric and experience-based. The concept is more about conveying the experience of the brand, rather than picking from 1,000 products. It’s not about having the most things but about having the most quality.”

Hufft’s on-site fabricating shop creates project efficiencies by producing everything from fixtures to furniture to in-wall rolling casework and cabinetry. The unique combination of retail design expertise and custom fabrication is helping the firm carve out a niche in the crossroads of e-commerce and experiential retail.

“We can quickly roll out these stores. They hand us a location and a box size and then we work with them to develop the concept using the KC store as a template,” Brown said. “While we are in the design process, we can also be building cabinets and fixtures, for the space so it’s a really seamless process.”

Corbion tastes success with new Lenexa North American headquarters and innovation lab

Food ingredient research company Corbion has opened its new 58,000-square foot North American headquarters and advanced laboratory facility at 8250 Flint St. in Lenexa. The new $13 million facility consolidates the company's 200 employees into one regional operation.

Developed by Block Real Estate Services (BRES), the building is less than a mile from Corbion's longtime location at 79th and Quivira and marks the completion of Pine Ridge West Business Park, a flagship development for BRES.

"BRES has been excited to assist Corbion with the development of a new high-end facility in Pine Ridge Business Park,” said Kenneth G. Block, managing principal at BRES. “As a fellow industry leader, Corbion’s commitment to quality and innovation matches BRES’s commitment, which is visible in Corbion’s new facility and the nearby BRES apartment development of WaterSide Residences on Quivira.

The facility includes a state-of-the-art bakery and demonstration kitchen, as well as meat research and application labs. Designed by Finkle + Williams, the building reflects the company's focus on sustainability through local sourcing, clean energy, centralized waste management, composting and recycling programs, according to a release.

The new headquarters and lab will inform the Dutch company's approach to helping create a safe and sustainable global food supply. Corbion has had a presence in the KC region for almost a century.

“We constantly encourage our employees and our customers to ‘Keep Creating,’ because the world urgently needs better solutions to the challenges we face,” said Andy Muller, Executive Vice President at Corbion. “The innovations we help create make a difference in the lives of people everywhere – people just like us. We try to merge our areas of scientific expertise with what we know and care about as consumers so we can develop solutions that make a meaningful impact for everyone, including ourselves and our families.”

Local vendors were chosen for the facility, including food services by Westport Flea Market and beverages by Messenger Coffee and Tea Market.

Block added that Corbion was a good partner for BRES because the companies are aligned both professionally and philanthropically.

“Corbion’s involvement in the community and focus on giving back align with BRES’s commitment to philanthropy which has made this an ideal partnership,” Block said.

Corbion employs a total of 350 in the region.