Local Firms Form KCI Design Team

The drive to bring a single-terminal configuration to Kansas City International Airport took on additional business-civic overtones today as five prominent design firms from the region were introduced as partners for the proposal put forward in the spring by Burns & McDonnell.

The new alliance includes HOK, Populous, BNIM, Wellner-Architects and Garcia Architecture. They will work with Burns & McDonnell to submit concepts for the new terminal in a formal proposal to the Kansas City Council. The city is expected to select a winning team by Aug. 14.

“This is the next step in building a world class team of design talent that will deliver an airport all Kansas Citians will be proud of,” Burns & McDonnell Chairman and CEO Ray Kowalik said this morning as the partnership was unveiled. “When you look at their resumes, you see they have all been involved in designing amazing projects both here in Kansas City and around the world. Airports really create an identity for a whole community and we are excited to design a new KCI that will reflect everything we love about our hometown.”

“The Kansas City International Airport is a critical gateway to our city and region,” said Bill Johnson, senior vice president and design principal for HOK’s Kansas City practice. “We look forward to collaborating with this diverse Kansas City-based design team to create a new KCI that is a modern, beautiful and convenient community asset.”

Earl Santee, managing principal for Populus, said the project was vital becuase “first and last impressions are powerful. They’re what frame all great moments and that’s what drives us in creating icons in every city where we work across the world. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to create the Kansas City story right here in our home town.”

Steve McDowell, president and CEO of BNIM, said the project could lead to an airport facility “that is reflective of Kansas City’s welcoming and unique nature, with its rich and diverse populations.”

The local firms will join Corgan, a Dallas-based architecture firm with extensive experience designing many of the most recent terminal and aviation facility improvements around the country, including renovation work at Terminal C at KCI.

And Bob Berkebile, principal emeritus and co-founder of BNIM, was designated as Designer Emeritus for the project team. “With Bob’s national stature and local reputation, I can’t think of a better person to help our design team to create Kansas City’s airport of the future, while preserving the convenience and connection to the community of KCI,” Kowalik said. Berkebile served as the co-chair to the recent KCI Airport Terminal Advisory Group and served as the lead design architect for the original KCI design.