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2010 Design Excellence Awards
Waldo is a vibrant, gritty neighborhood located south of downtown Kansas City. Its commercial district has long resisted “sanctioned” development strategies; it is largely comprised of small businesses that are not afraid to take a risk.
Sadly, in the spring of 2007, the historic Waldo Theater building burned to the ground. Located at a busy urban intersection, the Waldo Theater had organically evolved into a thriving mixed-use building, housing many local businesses over the span of 75 years.
The owner of the Waldo Theater building, herself a Waldo-based real estate attorney, decided to rebuild immediately. She asked her architect to “replant” the corner — to preserve the scale and footprint of the original building, but to allow new attitudes about urban infill and sustainability to grow from the site.
The new building shell, designed to accommodate four small commercial tenants, includes a planted roof, operable windows, integrated sun shading, new bamboo streetscaping, and a merging of interior and exterior space at the sidewalk level. Additionally, the architect collaborated with a local studio artist on the second level glazing system. Entitled Slips and Shifts, the 10’ x 200’ site-specific “drawing” responds to a dynamic urban site while simultaneously reducing heat gain from the southern and western sun.