Reeves Wiedeman

Helix Architecture has designs on KCAI student living center expansion

Helix Architecture + Design has been chosen to design a new 250-bed student living center and dining hall for the Kansas City Art Institute. Construction will begin in 2018 on the project, which was made possible by a $10 million anonymous gift through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

Several firms submitted proposals for the student living center, but Helix' plan stood out because it created connections and emphasized relationships between the new student living center, the new garden space and current housing, according to KCAI President Tony Jones

"The result will be a thoughtful design that takes into consideration the needs of our students while respecting our historic Rockhill and Southmoreland neighborhoods, and advancing the college's extensive landscape plan," Jones said.

Helix partnered with Denver-based consulting firm Christopher Carvell Architects to land the project. Carvell has developed nationally recognized expertise in the design of "Next Generation" student life facilities.

"It is an honor to work alongside one of the country's leading arts education institutions to redefine the student housing experience and create a space that nurtures the creativity of these young artists," said Reeves Wiedeman, founding principal with Helix Architecture + Design. "KCAI's new student housing project will be a beacon for attracting talent to the campus and our city."

Helix is an award-winning, Kansas City-based design firm consistently ranked among the best in the nation by Architect Magazine. The firm's diverse portfolio of work includes extensive experience with higher education institutions throughout the region. According to a release, the KCAI student housing project includes contemporary dining that will be open to the public and a large terraced garden. 

Located at 4415 Warwick, KCAI is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with 13 studio majors. KCAI also offers continuing education courses. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City's oldest arts organization. For more information, visit 

ULI 2017 Developments of Distinction: Leon Mercer Jordan Campus

The Leon Mercer Jordan Campus provides state-of-the-art facilities for Kansas City, Mo. police officers at the new East Patrol Division, as well as modernized resources to investigate crime at a new Regional Crime Lab. Located on Kansas City's east side, the 18-acre urban core redevelopment helped bring new life to an area desperate for revitalization.

“The police from the get-go saw this as an opportunity to do more than just a building. They knew they were building in a community that they wanted to connect to, and they knew this investment was going to be a catalyst for more development down the road,” said Helix Architecture + Design Principal Reeves Wiedeman. “This was a project that everybody’s intention was to get right, not just as a functioning police station but as something that the neighborhood in the end would feel connected to.”

Helix designed the East Patrol building to encourage community use, with police meeting space doubling as community rooms available to neighborhood groups in the evenings, as well as a gymnasium available to nearby residents.

The adjacent regional crime lab was designed to encourage maximum collaboration and transparency with glass offices but also features items of high interest and relevance on display, including a gun library with various firearms encased in glass.

“We developed the plan with offices in the middle… and circulation around the perimeter of the offices, so on tours you can see into every lab,” said Julie Wellner of Wellner Architects, which designed the crime lab’s interior.  “We thought, ‘what would make this the most flexible and best use of the land and also help the actual processes that happen with evidence throughout the building.' ”

The project included lofty goals for minority and women-based enterprises, as well as Section 3 contractors.

“We worked hard to make sure to makes sure we met the goals and delivered a high-quality project, so it was a process,” said Jeff Blaesing, JE Dunn vice president.

The project team toured the country with the Kansas City, Missouri police department and crime lab officials to inform design and implementation: “We toured the best of the best because this was our opportunity to get it right,” Wiedeman said.

Project partners include: City of Kansas City, Mo., developer; Helix Architecture + Design, architecture services; Wellner Architects, architecture services; JE Dunn, generator contractor; Bob D. Campbell, engineering services; Taliaferro & Browne, engineering services; ME Group, engineering services; Custom Engineering, engineering services; Alexander Mechanical Contractors, contractor.

AIA-KC names Helix as firm of the year

AIA-KC names Helix as firm of the year

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.

How Helix will diversify its brand and grow the KC skyline

How Helix will diversify its brand and grow the KC skyline

Helix Architecture + Design has merged with Blackbird Design Studio, and now the new team is finding more creative ways than ever to grow the Helix brand. See how the combined firm is handling the onslaught of development work in Kansas City, and how it plans to take the city to new heights.