Tom Nelson, FAIA and BNIM principal, and Ted Seligson, FAIA and visiting professor at AUPD, stand with the original 1965 blueprint of Katz Hall -- designed by Kivett & Myers, one of Kansas City's most prominent mid-century architectural firms. In the 1960s, Nelson worked on the Katz Hall designs and Seligson served as the head of design for Kivett & Myers.

A blueprint for success

AUPD's design connections extend to its new building

For 23 years, UMKC’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design (AUPD) in the College of Arts and Sciences has been known for its professional and community connections. AUPD’s courses, educators and now – even its new building – boast impressive connections to the professional community.

An architectural connection

In July, AUPD will move out of Epperson House and into a building designed by Kivett & Myers – one of Kansas City’s most prominent architectural firms from the 1930s to 1970s. Located at 5005 Rockhill Rd., Katz Hall opened in 1965 and housed the School of Pharmacy. The first new campus building to open since 1949, it signified a new era for the UMKC campus. It is named after Isaac and Michael Katz, founders of a major Midwest drugstore chain and contributors to the building’s construction.

According to AUPD faculty members, a key benefit of relocating to Katz Hall is that it will provide larger, more flexible spaces for design-studio courses.

  • The ground floor features general classrooms, a wood and model shop and a computer lab. Eventually, it will feature an outdoor building technology lab.
  • The first floor features a reception area, faculty offices, a classroom and a fully-networked exhibition room that can seat as many as 80 people.
  • The second floor features two lecture halls, a classroom and open studio spaces for urban design.
  • The third floor features sunny, open studio spaces.

In keeping with the building’s mid-century design, the reception area, faculty offices and public spaces will feature furniture collections from renowned, mid-century modern designers.

“Katz Hall is a building that has the character of mid-century modern design and of good architecture,” said Ted Seligson, FAIA, visiting professor at AUPD. “Our move to Katz Hall will present a strong architectural image of our department to the university and to the community.”

Kivett & Myers was known nationally for its 1967 design of the Truman Sports Complex, its 1972 design of Kansas City International Airport and several other notable buildings, which received design awards. Kivett & Myers later merged with HNTB Corp.

In addition to sharing an architectural design connection with Kivett & Myers, AUPD shares a personal connection. Seligson worked as head of design for Kivett & Myers in the 1950s and 1960s. John Eggen – who designed Katz Hall – and Seligson left Kivett & Myers to form their own architectural firm. Tom Nelson, FAIA and BNIM principal, worked on the design and drawings of Katz Hall, as well.

A world-class experience

State-of-the-art facilities aside, AUPD students and faculty spend hours in the community. Using Kansas City as a learning laboratory, students have contributed to more than 40 community-based projects and exhibitions.

“The urban location is critical!” said Joy Swallow, AIA and chair of AUPD. “To get students into real-time, real-scale projects in the community means that they begin to understand the power of their actions."

Bart Rudolph, a 2006 AUPD alumnus who majored in Urban Planning and Design (UPD), said AUPD’s community partnerships prepared him to work as a transportation planner for the City of Lawrence, Kan. One of the few studio-based urban planning and design programs in the country, the UPD program teaches students how to apply theory to community projects. During his time at AUPD, Rudolph presented streetscape design proposals to business owners and developers.

“I think the steering committees of practicing planners and architects gave me a feel for what the real world would be like, how everything is funded and all the other details involved,” Rudolph said. “Anything that I do as a professional planner involves a lot of people. Having worked with a variety of people while in the program, I knew what to expect as a professional.”

Swallow said the department plans to develop a graduate UPD program in the future.

AUPD’s other program – Architectural Studies – boasts strong connections to Kansas City’s American Institute of Architects chapter and Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design.

Several times each semester, AIA members visit AUPD for studio reviews, presentations or a fieldtrip to a building or construction site. AIA also named Swallow Educator of the Year in 2009 for her work and teaching in the areas of urban design, design education and historic preservation.

As for the K-State connection, AUPD’s Architectural Studies program allows students to complete the first two years of an accredited degree in architecture, interior architecture/product design and landscape architecture at UMKC before transferring to K-State’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design.

Jared Karr, who is completing the second year of AUPD’s Architectural Studies program, said his time at UMKC has better prepared him for the remainder of his studies.

“Our first-year studios are not nearly as crowded and more personal attention is available,” said Karr, who will complete his Masters of Architecture degree at K-State. “We have greater access to local firms to learn about our future careers, and more opportunities to develop leadership skills among our peers.”

Posted: July 6, 2010

Bookmark and Share


Recent Features

> College Town. City Life.

> The Four Things You Need to Know to Help Resolve the Gender Wage Gap

> College Town. City Life.

> Abused Journalist Finds Hope in Kansas City

Feature Archives:
2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

Search archives by keyword:

"Our move to Katz Hall will present a strong architectural image of our department to the university and to the community."

Ted Seligson, FAIA, visiting professor

On July 7, UMKC's Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design will move out of Epperson House and into Katz Hall.

Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the building provide sunny, open studio spaces.

Katz Hall's reception area features a bright orange accent wall and furniture characteristic of the mid-century modern era.