AIA-KC names Helix as firm of the year

The Helix team is firmly committed to working with minority- and women-owned businesses. "Their leadership and dedication to doing the right thing was key," AIA board member Jason Parson said.

It's yet another victory for Helix Architecture + Design.

On Tuesday night, the Kansas City chapter of the American Institute of Architects named Helix as the 2016 Firm of the Year. The award is a symbol of extraordinary leadership in advancing the cause of architecture and its role in improving the quality of the built environment.

It's another impressive accomplishment for the firm, whose year included a successful merger with Blackbird Design Studio.

“We are proud of the accolades we have received this year but what truly energizes us is the development we see happening throughout our city,” said Jay Tomlinson, Helix's founding principal. “With each building we renovate and each block our clients infuse with new investment, we are adding to the momentum of Kansas City. We are proud to play a role in not only shaping the built environment but also how residents and visitors alike experience our community."

AIA-KC President Dale Duncan cited the success of Helix’s merger with Blackbird Design Studio, recent local and national design awards, and the firm’s leadership on key high-profile projects as reasons for the selection.  

Helix's 2016 project portfolio includes the Boulevard Brewing Co. visitor center, the Corrigan Station renovation, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences administration building, MAC Properties' International Apartments, the Synergy Services Children’s Center, East 9 at Pickwick Plaza North Tower, Park University's Norrington Academic Center, the Academy for Integrated Arts new charter school, Kansas City Young Audiences midtown location and the adaptive reuse of 1700-1710 Wyandotte.

Helix also received accolades for MBE/WBE participation on the Leon Jordan East Patrol Campus, a transformative project in a depressed neighborhood on the east side. 

“Helix’s leadership is representative of the intent of our members to provide more equity in the way that we practice, and to raise the bar of diversity for the future of our members and our profession," Duncan said. "It is quite remarkable what was accomplished."

AIA handed out other awards that night, including the Architect of the Year award, which was given to Eric Bosch, city architect with the City of KCMO, while the President's Award was presented to the Kansas City Police Department.