AIA Kansas City, the local chapter of American Institute of Architects, gives awards each year for "outstanding contributions to our profession, the community and the built environment."
The awards were announced Tuesday night at the annual AIA KC holiday party, with about 200 members in attendance.
Helix Architecture + Design received the AIA KC award for Firm of the Year. President Dale Duncan recognized the architecture and interior design firm for its recent national and local awards, as well as leadership in projects like the Kansas City Police Department's Leon Mercer Jordan East Patrol Campus at 2640 Prospect Avenue, which opened in December 2015.
"We just felt a natural obligation to do more than just a good project," said Reeves Wiedeman, founding principal with Helix, of the East Patrol station on the city's east side. The project was controversial, in part due to the amount of land required — nearly 130 parcels of land were acquired, and 60 residents were re-located. The firm gathered more than 20 consultants, said Wiedeman, with a focus on minority and women-owned businesses, to participate with the design team.
"It was like building the city together with a large group of people," Wiedeman said. "When you start thinking about that, it really does go beyond an architectural project."
As for the recognition as Firm of the Year, Wiedeman called it "a surprise to everybody."
He added, "And it catches you off guard because you kind of look back and you say, wow, I guess, some of the things that we're very proud of, and some of the things that we do naturally to try to be a good business, and good architects, and good civic leaders get noticed. And so it did."
AIA KC's board members initiated the awards in 2005. They accept nominations from members, board members and staff. Award recipients are decided by consensus from the entire board:
- Architect of the Year: Eric Bosch, City Architect with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, AIA
- Member Firm of the Year: Helix Architecture + Design
- Emerging Professional of the Year: Shahad Sadeq, Assoc. AIA
- Chapter Volunteer of the Year: Women in Design Co-Chairs (Molly Simmons, AIA and Ellen Foster, AIA)
- Architecture Advocate of the Year: Tim de Noble, AIA of Kansas State University
- Preservationist of the Year: Historic Kansas City Foundation
- Community Volunteer of the Year: Mike Fahey, Assoc. AIA
- Community Impact of the Year: KC Streetcar Team (City of KC, KCATA, et al)
- Educator of the Year: Dr. Mandi Sonnenberg of Rockhurst University with the STEAM Studio at Gould Evans
- President's Award: Chief Darryl Forté of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department
Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.