Tag Archives: kansas city

2014 Market Winner: Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator by RMTA

As the winners of the 2014 Design is…Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group Blog.  Throughout the year, readers will learn about the 40 winning projects. These are their stories. 

Matt Murphy, Design Associate, spoke with us about this one-of-a-kind venture.

Describe the project in one word.


MOF14002_c How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?

Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator is unique venture powered by Sprint Corporation and Techstars, dedicated to the growth of the Kansas City tech and entrepreneurship community. The Accelerator is a beacon for entrepreneurship in the region, bringing start-ups from around the world into Kansas City to work on the future of mobile health technology.

Design is a process. Explain your journey.

Understanding these needs, RMTA concluded the space needed to echo exactly what Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator stands for – creativity, diversity, innovation and first to market. The building was originally erected in 1903 as an ice house. The 12,000 square feet second floor space underwent significant renovations while retaining the original structure to accommodate activities within three distinct sections: Community, Accelerator and Co-working.

Sprint desired an environment to inspire and advocate work-life balance; a place where people would want to be. To address their needs, the space was designed to inspire creativity and collaboration. Sprint also sought a backdrop that would let one know they are indeed in a Sprint space without overwhelming visitors with their universal brand. To formulate this distinct subculture, Sprint provided approvals to set aside conventional use of corporate branding identity including color, logo, icons and typography. These subtle, yet complex reminders of Sprint’s presence in the space radiates throughout without being trite or obtrusive.

The project moved at an expeditious speed; wherein RMTA was retained to survey the space and start the design process at the beginning of August and construction was completed by the end of December that very same year. This meant we had to make clear and succinct decisions without jeopardizing the acuity of the design. Each of the team members had their roles and worked within in them, always putting the project first which made for a great and synergistic process. This practice echoes throughout architecture and design on a daily basis; that each of us plays a small, yet significant part that when churned in unison with hard work, knowledge and passion can result in measurable successes.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

The uniqueness of the design comes from a team whom truly collaborated on all levels. The key to the project’s success was based on pushing the design limits and never accepting the status quo while maintaining the schedule and the budget and never losing sight of the project vision.




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Cradle to Cradle and LEED Make It Right in Kansas City

The Make It Right Foundation was created to rebuild safe, energy-efficient and affordable housing for Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. Using the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy, the organization has since expanded to help families in underserved communities across the country.

Bancroft School 1

Built in 1909 and abandoned since 1999, the Bancroft School in Kansas City, MO has been transformed from a decaying eyesore into LEED Platinum apartments that serve as a model for change in a blighted neighborhood. In addition to fifty new rental units, the structure features 75-kilowatt solar array installed on the roof, high-performance windows and daylighting techniques to maximize energy efficiency. Bancroft’s original oak flooring was restored wherever possible.

Bancroft School 3

Interior of an apartment before renovation

Bancroft School 2

A two bedroom apartment after renovation

Shaw Industries has been a partner with Make It Right since its beginning and continues to help communities in need. 40,000 square feet of flooring was donated to the Bancroft School Apartments to help make this project possible. “[Shaw] helped bring this project back to life and we are grateful for their critical role in this building,” said Tom Darden, executive director for Make It Right.

Images: InHabitat.com

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2013 Market Winner: NNSA National Security Campus by HNTB Architecture

As the winners of the 2013 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 48 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Wes Crosby, Director of Design & Interior Architecture, Lori Kruger, Senior Interior Designer, and Katie Moorman, Interior Designer talk to us about molecular structures, collective genius and designing spaces for ‘unique contraptions.’

Your design inspiration came from the structure of atoms and molecules. Tell me more about that.
The major form making elements of the interior architecture draw their inspiration from graphic models commonly used by scientists to visualize their work. “The construction and use of representational models is a central activity in the formulation of chemical theory. Such models make visible the invisible world of the atom and molecule; they give them a graphic clarity. The means of producing this has taken two major forms – physical and symbolic.” The design team abstracted and gave three dimensional form to these graphic representation models. For example, the ceilings in the open office area, inspired by Dr. van’t Hoff’s templates for unfolded tetrahedra, and reinforced with diagonally oriented lighting, help modulate and break down the vast open office areas.


Typically when government buildings come to mind, most people think of drab and gray spaces. What was your process in creating a space with a more elevated design than the average government building?
The design team endeavored to create a workplace strategy that would replace the NNSA’s outmoded office space. The design sought to create a clean, white box aesthetic that provides a crisp backdrop to walnut paneling and strategically placed color in the interior architecture and furnishings. The resulting design establishes a workplace that celebrates the organization’s collective genius.

What was the happiest moment of the project?
Seeing the pride the client has taken in the project. This environment is a dramatic departure from their previous space. It greatly exceeded their expectations of what a work environment could be. When we told them about the award one of our clients said, “well deserved . . . and we get to live here!”


Tell me something that was unusual about the project.
We never thought we’d be incorporating zoo-like turnstiles into an interior as a major entry element to the secure pods/ open office areas. Doing that in a design conscious manner proved to be a bit of a challenge. There were more unusual things in the manufacturing spaces, specifically “the sled”. A machine designed to accelerate objects to super high speeds and decelerate them just as quickly. It is supposed to replicate the forces objects experience when leaving and entering earth’s atmosphere. The crazy thing is not that we were designing spaces for contraptions like this one. The crazy thing was that we were designing spaces for thousands of different contraptions like that one.

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