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Center for Medical Education Innovation Receives Prestigious American Architecture Award

Three projects also garner recognition from AIA Kansas City Design Awards

Center for Medical Education Innovation

In a thrilling conclusion to this year’s awards season, the Center for Medical Education Innovation (CMEI) garnered a prestigious American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design. The American Architecture Awards are dedicated to the recognition of excellence in architecture and urbanism in the United States. 

CMEI puts Kansas City University (KCU) at the forefront of clinical education and offers access to technology-rich labs. CMEI addresses critical programmatic needs for the campus, the first of a new generation of buildings at KCU that accommodate the ever-evolving nature of medical education. The highly transparent design transforms CMEI into a showcase of discovery and innovation, featuring environments such as the simulation deck, adaptable clinical skills suite, the osteopathic manipulative medicine lab, and a multi-purpose forum. The forum, an iconic volume that appears to hover above ground when viewed from the west, informs the campus culture — a place for lectures, studying, or socializing. This LEED-certified facility serves as a regional training destination for simulation users in the greater Kansas City area. The building was designed to enhance enrollment and retention, allowing students to share experiences and develop mastery of the curriculum.

CMEI was designed in collaboration with CO Architects. The state-of-the-art building also received a Merit Award from AIA Central States as well as a Silver in the Higher Education Category at the 2022 IIDA Mid-American Design Awards.

“The project prioritizes urban and campus design contributions and strengthens connections between interior and exterior spaces and uses.”

“The project prioritizes urban and campus design contributions and strengthens connections between interior and exterior spaces and uses. This includes a generous flexible simulation lab that literally opens and expands interior teaching space into the outdoors at ground level and roof level. This is unique for campus medical school buildings and the jury hopes studies of this will prompt other institutions to consider strategies and benefits for connecting interior and exterior environments and direct and indirect users.”

– AIA Kansas City 2022 Jury Comments

 

Client: Kansas City University

Team: J.E. Dunn, Henderson Engineers, Walter P. Moore, Confluence, NV5

Photography by Bill Timmerman

In addition to the American Architecture Award for CMEI, three more projects recently received honors from the annual AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Awards. The projects reflect Helix’s passion for crafting experiences that have positive impacts on the people who occupy these spaces every day.

Sedgwick Hall Renovation + Addition

Rockhurst University’s Sedgwick Hall received a Citation Award for Architecture. As Rockhurst has adapted to changing pedagogies and new generations of students, Sedgwick Hall, the oldest building on campus, has been modified and augmented to fulfill Rockhurst’s aspirations. The reimagining of Sedgwick Hall into a state-of-the-art nursing school is the latest chapter in the building’s legacy.

Grappling with the constraints of a historic structure, the team strategically created high-impact moments through restraint and resourcefulness. The most powerful move involved repositioning Sedgwick Hall’s primary entrance to re-engage with the rest of campus. Once clad entirely in brick, the east side of the building has been opened with an all-glass façade, reestablishing the connection between the University and its original campus building. The intersection of old and new blends multi-use, flexible spaces with the highly technical, specialized areas required for medical education. Students move between highly collaborative and social environments to more intimate spaces for focused study.

Elegant dynamic spaces connect directly to the campus. You celebrate community with this building and you provide for both highly collaborative activities as well as intimate spaces for focused study.”

“What was incredible about this building was the idea that you did not demolish and rebuild but you chose to work with the existing structure and intervene in a very expressive and delightful way. Elegant dynamic spaces connect directly to the campus… All of these spaces regardless of size are flooded with natural light and grounded in Rockhurst’s campus. What a powerful way to begin a career in caring for others.”

— AIA KC 2023 Jury Comments

 

Client: Rockhurst University

Team: CO Architects, JE Dunn, Lankford Fendler, Bob D. Campbell, SK Design Group, FSC Consulting, BranchPattern, Lerch Bates

Photography by Michael Robinson Photography

Cura Personalis Bench – Sedgwick Hall

Situated on the campus-facing plaza at Rockhurst University, a parametric bench has become the physical manifestation of one of the University’s core values: cura personalis. 

At its foundation, cura personalis — “care for the whole person” — speaks to how people should approach and abide with one another. As described by the University’s director of ministry, “Every person’s life is wonderfully complex and wholly unique, a discrete reflection of the Sacred in our midst. In turn, each life merits reverence through the gift of our attentive presence, an attentiveness aimed at exploring and honoring the distinctive texture, complexity, and indeed,beauty of their reality.”

Inviting users to reflect on the significance of this core value, the bench simultaneously celebrates individuality and community. Its intricate construction expresses the multifaceted nature of humanity. Flowing across the plaza, thebench’s dynamic form hints to transforming division into unity.

It is first a beautiful sculpture visually activating an otherwise empty public space, and at the same time, we appreciated the multiple seating options that work as well for one person as it does for several people.”

“We found the undulating shapes to be an interesting counterpoint to the Sedgwick Hall ‘orthogonal architecture’. It is first a beautiful sculpture, visually activating an otherwise empty public space and at the same time, we appreciated the multiple seating options that work as well for one person as it does for several people. The jury agreed it is very comfortable too.”

— AIA KC 2023 Jury Comments

 

Client: Rockhurst University

Team: CO Architects, Square One Studio

Photography by Michael Robinson Photography and Eighth Element Photography

Vanderslice Hall Renovation

Vanderslice Hall earned a Citation Award for Interior Architecture. Vanderslice Hall is a historic icon that has served students and faculty at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) since 1895. More than 30 years ago, select areas of the building were turned into offices for admissions staff in a renovation that enclosed many original details. Inspired by the ornate details of its original architecture, work began to restore the admissions suite spaces to their original spatial rhythm and character. 

The admissions suite within Vanderslice holds a unique position for KCAI and the Kansas City arts community at large. It is the first exposure to the institution for many prospective students, and it is the headquarters for the team working to recruit and review applications from promising artists from all over the world. As such, the spaces provide an opportunity to make a strong statement about both the heritage of the school and its ambitions for the future. Events for alumni, donors, and the university also showcase this special part of KCAI’s original building. The respect for history, celebration of historic and contemporary craftsmanship and openness to creativity on display within the project reflect KCAI’s — and the arts community’s — vibrant past and exciting future.

“Vanderslice Hall embodies all that is great about historic restoration and reconstruction.”

“Vanderslice Hall embodies all that is great about historic restoration and reconstruction. The architects’ attempt to see the original story of the building by carefully evaluating the existing conditions and coming up with means, methods, and an appropriate level of intervention for every step of the way was quite impressive. This building, this project is elegant, beautiful, vibrant and inspired.”

— AIA KC 2023 Jury Comments

 

Client: Kansas City Art Institute

Team: AL Huber, IMEG, Bob D. Campbell

Photography by Nate Sheets Photo

Both awards were comprised of esteemed groups of nationally recognized designers. Read more about The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design. Read more about the AIA Kansas City Design Excellence awards.

We’re honored to share these awards with our clients and design, construction, and engineering partners. This recognition is the culmination of contributions from each team member.

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