Architecture and 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"The conversations we used to have are so outdated, it's amazing.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.

Hufft 'small box' concept pops onto big-market retail scene

Hufft is playing big with its ‘small box’ pop-up design, a concept that has allowed homegrown retailer Baldwin Denim to try major markets on for size without signing long-term leases. Over the past 12 months, the Kansas City-based architecture firm and fabricator’s store-in-a-box has helped Baldwin Denim expand to New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Jose, California.

Hufft founder Matthew Hufft and Baldwin Denim founder Matthew Baldwin are longtime friends, so Hufft was game when Baldwin asked him in 2017 to fast-track design for a pop-up store in New York City.

“It started with (Baldwin) saying, ‘hey, we need a popup store in a few months. How can we get that done on a budget?’” Matthew Hufft said. “We worked with them to develop a scalable model, basically a store that can ship to almost any location and be set up in days. Landlords are loving this model and offering better lease terms because of it.”

Packed inside one plywood box, the “pasture in the city” pop-up landed rave reviews from Interior Design magazine, with editors calling the mashup “one of the most innovative pop-ups” they’ve ever seen. Fabricated at Hufft’s Kansas City headquarters, the concept features design nods to Midwestern barns and landscapes.  

The entire store is shipped in three birch-plywood shipping crates comprised of two nesting “prairie tables.” When separated, the rustic tables feature edges that resemble Kansas hillsides. The theme continues with a dressing room shaped like a grain silo flat-packed for easy assembly without fasteners.  

“We are helping create (Baldwin’s) brand experience, and looking at the retail industry overall we understand we have to do it differently,” Hufft said.

Additional Baldwin Denim stores in Denver and Austin are expected by the end of the year. Check out the slideshow provided by Hufft below. Click on the photo to advance the gallery. 

Teamwork and expertise prove good medicine for SMMC project timeline

Shawnee Mission Medical Center has opened the city’s largest hybrid operating room, a fast-tracked project that converted an outdated clinical area into a 3,550-square foot surgical space equipped with the latest advanced imaging equipment and technology.

Built by general contractor United Excel and designed by health care architecture firm Pulse Design Group, the new multidisciplinary operating room allows health care professionals from different specialties to treat patients undergoing minimally-invasive heart and vascular surgeries in the same location. Procedures will include Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements (TAVR), electrophysiology, vascular procedures and cardiac catheterization.

Most of the construction took place after normal business hours to meet an expedited project timeline and to minimize disruptions to patients and ongoing operations. It was a challenge that United Excel was prepared to meet.

“It’s so different from building a big box store or standalone construction because there are birthing mothers and even NICU patients right next to us.” said United Excel Project Manager Lucy Campbell. “Adjacent areas remained active during hospital hours and during off hours. If someone was admitted for an emergency surgery, we had to stop what we were doing but still maintain the construction schedule.”

United Excel built a shell around the construction space to limit harmful fumes, dust, vibration and noise. Once the hybrid OR was completed and equipment installed within the shell, crews performed a thorough terminal cleaning to ensure the space was 100 percent sterile.

“We built a whole room around the space in which we were going to be working, so you are building twice, basically,” said United Excel President Dennis Burns. “Those in health care construction understand how important infection control is. If you don’t do health care construction, then you may not be aware of how important that piece is.”

Architectural details included a flexible floor plan that was developed and vetted by nurses and physicians with the aid of virtual reality, custom solid surface casework provided by Shield, and an elevated control desk for optimal patient viewing. The advanced room design allows for a patient to transition from an interventional catheter-based procedure to a surgical procedure without being transported to another setting.

“Our firm has designed hybrid operating rooms for numerous clients, but the new hybrid operating room at Shawnee Mission Medical Center is by far the most spacious and technologically advanced. It sets the highest standards for future hybrid operating rooms,” said Pulse Design Group Principal Rick Embers.

Greg Highbarger, SMH design and construction manager, agreed that the complexities of the hybrid operating room project-- including a September-to-January timeline-- provided challenges.

“...the synergy of our design and construction partners defused any concerns that our project would not be completed on time and under budget,” Highbarger said in a release. “The success of our new state-of-the-art hybrid operating room is a testament to having the right expertise at each phase of the project.”

The project team included: Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC), P1 Group, Capital Electric, Allied Construction Services, Shield Casework, and Jayhawk Fire Sprinkler Co. Medical equipment was provided by Steris, Phillips, Biosense Webster, GE, Drager, Siemens, & Sorin.

United Excel built an actual infection control barrier during construction of Shawnee Mission Medical Center's Hybrid OR. The wall blends visually into the adjacent hallway.

United Excel built an actual infection control barrier during construction of Shawnee Mission Medical Center's Hybrid OR. The wall blends visually into the adjacent hallway.