Sleek lines, creative look, continuous insulation
- Project Kansas City Art Institute Student Housing, Barbara Marshall Residence Hall
- Location Kansas City, Missouri
- Type of Precast CarbonCast High Performance Insulated Wall Panels
- Project Size 84,600 sf
- CarbonCast Surface Area 31,369 sf
- Architect Helix Architecture + Design & Christopher Carvell Architects
- Contractor JE Dunn Construction
- Owner Kansas City Art Institute
- Awards AIA Kansas City: 2020 Project of the Year; AIA Kansas City: 2020 Honor Award
- Precaster Enterprise Precast
This student housing project consists of a four-story student residence building with one story adjacent dining center. It will be the first of several projects on campus that are centered around a major initiative focused on the freshman experience, intended to attract and retain top level freshman art students. Architecturally, the student housing project represents a transformational, iconic new building that compliments the history and traditions of this particular art institute while expressing its forward-thinking evolution.
The overall area of the building is approximately 84,600 gross square feet (GSF) of building consisting of approximately 74,000 sf of student living space and an additional 10,600 sf of dining space. The major programmatic elements of the student housing project include:
- A combination of 2- and 4-bedroom suites provide a total number of 220 beds, with 7 RA living suites and a 2-bedroom apartment for the RA director.
- Common areas for social activities, study, fitness, laundry, and other misc. amenities for the freshmen residents.
- A campus dining center including relocation of the campus Café
- 37 covered parking stalls at the basement level, with an additional 69 surface parking stalls at the south end of the building
The building team sought to create a facility that would be durable, enduring, sustainable, and a prudent use of the Institute’s physical, financial, and human resources.
The building houses a 227-bed residence hall, featuring double-occupancy semi-suites with private baths and cozy gathering spaces, plus a student gallery, large living room and gaming center. The building celebrates the unique individuality of each student while creating a sense of community. The interior environment is designed not only to provide a welcoming home but also be source of inspiration for freshman students.
A key design feature are the tapered windows with the pops of color achieved with the field- applied stain. This combined with the multi-finish precast exterior (a combination of acid etch combined with a retarder finish) creates a striking visual presence on the campus.
For the interior an ‘honesty of materials’ theme prevails. The interior wythe of concrete (which is primarily structural gray) is left exposed with a sandblast finish. This is seen in the corridor, study alcoves, gym room as well as the interior walls of the individual dorm rooms. This is complemented by exposed a cast in place interior walls, various open spaces and a vibrant fireplace featured space. In some areas, interior integral color precast panels continue to the exterior creating an unmistakable connection from the exterior to interior. This is perhaps best achieved in the panel on the back wall of the grandstand tiered seating area.
From an architectural perspective, the 31,369 square feet of CarbonCast precast panels offered an opportunity to compliment the buildings surrounding context. With the Museum of Art to west, the older student living center to the east, and a notable sculpture to the north, all are built from concrete as the primary material. Selecting concrete as our primary material was a natural fit. Precast offered the added benefit of leveraging factory-based fabrication to introduce a level of texture and complexity rarely possible in on-site cast-in-place concrete work. In addition, it offered us the ability to create a cohesive building envelope in a panelized modular fashion, and integrate the thermal barrier. The CarbonCast insulated panels were also able to absorb the severe taper of the exterior windows (a key design feature). In fact, the 12″ thick panels with 4.5 average thickness of concrete at the face of panel.
Speed of erection was the final component that allowed us to bridge the challenges related to achieving a completion date based on the academic calendar.
Careful calibrations of the panel sizes relative to weight were conducted so that we could pick and place all the panels from one location. We had a diagram showing how the crane would be able to swing all the panels from one location.
The precaster, the architect, and the contractor all worked together on determining the panel sizes that were able to ship vertically in order to pick with a tower crane, be light enough for a tower crane (The heaviest panel was 17,500 pounds), and also be as large as possible to reduce piece counts.
The contractor reflected “Early preconstruction efforts with the architect, contractor and precaster all seated at the table is why the project was so successful. We thought it went great. It’s why we partnered early on.”