What is important modern architecture in KC – you can help answer


Volunteers who will help identify modern architecture in Kansas City saw examples as the study kicked off last night.

The city wants volunteers to take pictures of modern buildings – mainly those dating from 1945 to 1975 – to help define what modern architecture is in Kansas City.

A federal grant funds the first project of its kind locally, officials said Tuesday.

“This is kind of an experiment for the city itself, said Brad Wolf, city historic preservation officer.

Brad Wolfe of the City's Historic Preservation Department explained the survey.

Brad Wolfe of the City’s Historic Preservation Department explained the survey.

The Historic Kansas City Foundation is also involved as it works to determine what buildings to save.

Wolf explained the project to those at a gathering in the former TWA corporate headquarters building downtown.

That building, finished in 1956, was put on the national historic register in 2002.

The first step in the project is to get the pictures and then staff will research things like building date, architect, builder and developer and owner.

Some of the buildings will be excluded as the project goes along and experts study things like themes, architects and styles, Wolf said.

They will be looking for variations or styles like European, International, Neo-formalism, Neo-expressionism, and Brutalism, a “blocky” style marked by exposed concrete.

The project will not include single family housing but will include multifamily, commercial, industrial, schools, churches and public buildings, Wolf said.

“If there happens to be a good bridge, you think, I’m fine with that, too,” he said.

Beside the pictures, forms will include things that can be filled in by staff, like number of stories, roof type, main wall materials and window types.

The date for the final citywide report is December 2016, he said.

Citizens can take pictures with their phones or digital cameras and email them or otherwise get them to the city.

Most of the buildings Downtown or in the Crossroads have already been done and city staff has divided the city into about 190 areas, mostly corresponding to neighborhoods.

People can mark the map for areas they want to cover or write in neighborhoods they want to cover, officials said.

To volunteer or get more information, email: bradley.wolf@kcmo.org

One Comment

  1. Josiah says:

    That huge brutalist science bldg on the umkc campus! Just on the west side of Troost, a few blocks south of brush creek. My mom worked there when I was little and took me there a few times, I was in awe. I think it’s called the Spencer Chemistry Bldg actually?

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