Kansas City, Missouri

Program: A two-story, 60,000-square-foot home for the Kansas City Ballet. The project, an adaptive reuse of a coal-burning power plant from 1914, includes a performance theater, dance studios, locker rooms, administrative offices, a prefunction space, and a basement wardrobe workspace. A ballet school operates in some of the studios, offering classes to children and adults.

Design concept and solution: When BNIM started work, the steel and masonry structure had been abandoned since the 1970s and was battered by structural deterioration and standing water. Since the building no longer needed to support heavy coal-processing equipment, the architects were able to brace foundation walls and columns without having to restore the structure to its former capacity. In order to fit the dance center's program into the framework of the old plant, the architects needed to find creative ways of organizing the program and make the most of the plant's industrial remnants. The former engine room, a voluminous, triple-height space on the north side of the building, provided a column-free area just large enough to accommodate the theater. To house practice space, BNIM added a second floor with a row of four studios above the old engine room. The new floor plate floats within the larger volume and stops short of the exterior wall, allowing light from the large wood-frame windows to filter in through the glazing on the elevated studios. To bring more daylight into the studios, the architects re-created the plant's old Texas skylight, using metal framing to match the profile of the original fitting. Also on the second floor, between the north and south halves of the structure, BNIM inserted a catwalk connecting the studios with the locker rooms to the south. The catwalk passes through the plant's old chimney base, which the architects transformed into a meditative, cupola-like space by replacing the smokestack above with a skylight. To keep the interiors from looking too cluttered, they painted the exposed steel structure a neutral light gray and highlighted a few leftover fittings in bright orange. Steel coal chutes in the south hallway, repurposed as supports for hanging lights, punctuate the ceiling with loud pops of color, while a large orange crane perches high in the theater.

Location:  500 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO  64108

Completion Date: August 2011

Total construction cost: $32 million

Owner: Power House Properties

106 W. 14th Street, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64105
Tel: (816) 783-1500


Power House Properties
Tenant: Kansas City Ballet
Owner’s Representative: MC Realty Group

106 W. 14th Street, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64105
Tel: (816) 783-1500

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Design Principal – Steve McDowell FAIA, LEED AP (registered architect)
Project Architect – Rick Schladweiler AIA, LEED AP BD+C (registered architect)
Design Team – Joshua Hemberger, LEED AP (not registered)

Structural - Structural Engineering Associates, Inc., Richard McGuire, P.E., Project Manager/EOR.
Civil Engineer - Taliaferro and Browne

Landscape: BNIM
Acoustical: Acoustical Design Group, Inc.
Other: Code Consulting - FSC Inc.
Hardware Consulting – Studio 08 Consultants

Ballet Consultants:
Preservation Consultant - Architectural & Historical Research, LLC
A/V - Harvest Productions Inc.
Exhibit Design – Eisterhold Associates Inc.
Exhibit Fabricator – Exhibit Associates
FF&E - Contract Furnishings

General contractor: J.E. Dunn Construction;
Design-Build MEP – Gibbens Drake Scott, Inc, Mark One Electric Company, Inc., & US Engineering, and National Fire Suppression

Photographer(s) [please include phone number and email address] and credits as they should appear:
© Mike Sinclair (Mike Sinclair; 816-842-1499)
© Assassi (Farshid Assassi; 805-895-7703)

CAD system, project management, or other software used: Autodesk Revit and AutoCAD



Structural system:
Deep foundations consisted of 16” dia. auger cast pressure grouted drilled piles founded on bedrock, at new east and west shear walls/stair & elevator shafts, bearing on pile caps.

Basement level approx. 18” below static water table at site. Extensive repairs and waterproofing to existing foundation walls. Existing basement slab entirely replaced.

Structural steel framing required extensive corrosion damage repairs and strengthening from basement level to roof level.

Exterior cladding

Masonry: JE Dunn Construction Company - Existing multiwythe historic brick & terra cotta masonry restoration, 100% repointing of all exterior brick
Metal/glass curtainwall:  Manko
Concrete: JE Dunn Construction Company / LaFarge North America - Existing exposed foundation walls repairs/restoration
Wood: EIFS, ACM, or other:  E&K of Kansas City -  Dryvit


Built-up roofing: TPO – Great Plains Roofing - Firestone Building Products

Other: Chimney base extension feature with supplemental louvers


Wood: ASI Review


Glass: A2MG - Insulite
Skylights: A2MG - WASCO Skylights Insulated-panel or plastic


Entrances:  A2MG -Manko
Metal doors: American Direct - Ceco Door Products
Wood doors: American Direct - VT Industries
Sliding doors:  A2MG -Manko


Locksets: Sargent Manufacturing
Hinges: McKinney Hinge
Closers: Sargent Manufacturing
Exit devices: Sargent Manufacturing
Pulls: Rockwood Manufacturing

Interior finishes

Acoustical ceilings: E&K of Kansas City - Armstrong
Suspension grid: E&K of Kansas City - Armstrong
Paints and stains: AT Switzer Painting - PPG
Wallcoverings: Interior brick masonry walls and chimney stack repaired and repointed.
Paneling: Metal Paneling – WC Wiedenmann and Sons - All Pro
Special surfacing: Harlequin Dance Studio Flooring
Resilient flooring: Campione - Mannington
Carpet: Campione - Interface / Bigelow


Office furniture Supplier: Contract Furnishings, 3129 Main St., Kansas City, MO (Proj. Manager Jean-Paul Wong; Specified by Jim  Southall)
Open Office: Allsteel Terrrace DNA Panels with Allsteel REACH Storage
Private office: Allsteel Stride
Reception furniture: Custom by Square One Studio
Reception seating: Custom by Square One Studio
Fixed seating: Mid-States School & Irwin
Chairs: United Chair, Global, Allsteel
Tables: Allsteel Merge and Allsteel Get Set Training
Upholstery: DesignTex, Maharram
Filing:  Allsteel Align
Other furniture (use additional sheet if necessary): Telescopic Seating – Mid-States School & Irwin


Theatrical Lighting: Harvest Productions Inc.


Elevators/Escalators: Kone


include water fountains and water-saving fixtures as applicable:
Water Closets / Urinals – American Standard / Zurn
Air Handling Units - Trane

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
Dance Floors: Acme Floor Company, Inc – Harlequin
Structural Steel: The Bratton Corporation
Relocation and restoration of original large gantry crane to west end of building over Studio 1.