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Five projects win AIA Kansas City Design Excellence awards

We are excited to share that five Hufft projects received design awards from the annual AIA Kansas City Design Excellence program!

Every year, the AIA Kansas City Design Excellence program recognizes the work of Kansas City firms. The 2020 program saw a record-breaking number of submissions, ranging in size and project typology, from conceptual work, to interior architecture, unique design details, and completed architecture at every scale.

In the Divine Detail category, the Hobbs State Park Trailhead received the Merit Award. Arkansas’ Hobbs State Parks offers a 36-mile trail system for adventurers of all types. These architectural components were designed as a vehicle for immersion into the land, fortifying the sense of place and identity. The trailhead structures are strategically set as a series of sculptural elements in the landscape.

Jurors comments: “We really love how they provided a really complex, rich, complex sculptural experience given the simplest of building components. …Without sort of mimicking nature, it becomes sort of a lovely counterpoint to the experience of the users here as they experience these as trailheads and campsites. And we also love the ability for these parts to age much like the forest does. We thought there was sort of a poetry to this project.”

In Interior Architecture, BlakeSt. received the top Honor Award. BlakeSt. is a new health and wellness-focused social club in Bentonville, Ark. It is a place grounded in the simple idea that progress, in any form, happens when we share the load. The interior concept of BlakeSt. – a partnership with our frequent collaborators FODA – is a compilation of spaces programmed for every activity. The club is designed for members to flow through at their own pace, where community workshops, dinner with friends, unwinding with a record or early morning workouts can all happen with ease at the social club. Furnishings, colors and objects were carefully selected with the hope of evoking a specific mood, memory and sense of place.

Jurors’ comments: “This project is one of those few projects that really goes with the definition of beauty. Nothing can be added or taken away. Even though it has a lot of furniture, a lot of color, a lot of materials, I think it is a project that is very close to perfection. It is just perfectly done, perfectly beautiful. It has a lot of elements, but it is one of those that is exquisite. A well-deserved honor award.”

The new campus for the Charlotte Street Foundation, Terraced House, a single-family home on Table Rock Lake, and Paul & Linda DeBruce Hall on the Kansas City Art Institute campus each earned awards in the Architecture category. The Charlotte Street Foundation’s new campus received a Citation Award, and offers its staff and artists nearly 25,000 of operation and creative space. The building concept began with the idea of an artist’s village. Like village, the campus is home to many unique individual inhabitants whose collective spirit and knowledge drive the community. The building opens vertically and horizontally, with a lobby connecting the lower and upper terraces. Everyone passes through the same space, regardless of how they access the hilly site. It serves as creative space, an incubator, a lecture hall and the first space for chance interactions. The building’s program mirrors the varied disciplines of artists, including residency studios, shared maker spaces, a black box theater and gallery.

Jurors’ comments: “It was a very limited budget, but they were able to achieve a lot. A very interesting program … the architects were able to balance all the complications of this site, … and you can see there was careful attention to detail of every component to how people move around and experience the building. We thought it was very constrained, very minimal, very elegant and beautiful.”

Terraced House was another Merit Award winner and one of eight single-family residences submitted. Terraced House is a natural retreat with million-dollar views. Perched proudly over Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., this family home takes full advantage of its vista, and the natural surroundings. It feels at home on the inclined site and instills a sense of ease immediately upon arrival. Exterior spaces spill off main living spaces, extending the interior out into the open and blurring the boundary between inside and out. These spaces are grounded, warm and protected. The interior is natural and warm, designed intentionally for generations of family members and friends to enjoy varied access to the serene surrounding. The open floor plan and home’s position on the site ensures limitless views of the lake below.

Jurors’ comments: “This is a fantastic house on a fantastic lot. As you enter, and every space from the house, you can see the water. We particularly like that every single details has been considered. The exterior siding is just beautiful. It is a very beautiful home, and you can see that the architecture has a great theme of craftsmanship.”

The Kansas City Art Institute’s ­11-acre campus is nestled in the Southmoreland Historic Neighborhood and flanked by prominent art museums – the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Because of its highly-visible location, the new Paul and Linda DeBruce Hall, which received a Merit Award, interfaces with the campus community, neighboring residents and nearby museums. The neighborhoods’ use of curved brick and stone is an influential design move in the form of the building. A prominent portal entry that speaks to the historic and unique front doors found throughout the neighborhood. Classrooms and administrative spaces are placed around an airy atrium, connecting students and staff with each other and the landscape. Building from the inspiration of classrooms in a garden, a courtyard garden is a place of relaxation and inspiration, complementing the interior work and focus spaces.

Jurors’ comments: “From the exterior, we really enjoyed the detailing. The material richness in pattern-making that happens with the different materials seemed very appropriate. We enjoyed the entry piece that references and contextualizes this campus with its other civic institutions, and each one sort of has a special doorway moment. We love how this building reaches out with its glazing and connects to adjacent buildings and the lawns that are a larger part of this campus. This building really feels transparent and has a glow to it that is quite nice.”

A special thank you goes to this year’s AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Award jury – Michael Hsu of Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, Tenna Florian with Lake|Flato, Miguel Rivera of Miró Rivera Architects – and the AIA Kansas City awards committee.