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Safdie Designing Third Project in Kansas City

Kansas City is beginning to feel like home for Moshe Safdie, FAIA. The Boston-based architect is currently designing the city's Metropolitan Performing Arts Complex and Kansas City Ballet Center. And recently Safdie was named to design a new $80 million, 2.4-acre mixed-use complex called "West Edge" for Pathway Development Company, LLC. The local firm of Gould Evans Goodman will serve as architect-of-record. The new project will be located two blocks west of the city's Country Club Plaza entertainment district on a site that includes three preexisting tan brick apartment buildings that will undergo a renovation.

The West Edge calls for 203,000 square feet of office space, plus a 103-room boutique hotel, a signature restaurant, and retail shops. There will also be an Advertising Icon Museum, a 300-seat auditorium and underground parking. The complex will be developed in response to the surrounding neighborhood with buildings ranging from nine to four stories tall, constructed from either warm-colored precast stone/brick or glass. The office building is designed around an undulating glazed atrium, whose ascending and stepping terraces echo a geologically formed landscape.

"The central atrium, contrasting in its reflective metallic finish, is the focal point of the complex and gives it its unique place in the skyline," says Safdie. "The complex is broken down into component parts creating a sense of a hillside village, generously integrated with plant life."

The composition of West Edge juxtaposes square windows and right angles on the exterior with flowing, curved metallic lines to reflect the energy, culture and creativity of the work taking place inside. Other project features entail a series of landscaped rooftop gardens cascading in a waterfall effect toward Brush Creek, with the hotel opening to two glazed courtyards and a garden shared by adjacent residential buildings. Groundbreaking is scheduled for early 2005 with completion by 2007.

Tony Illia