K-State students contribute to KC design studio

By The Mercury

A design study project to revitalize the Independence Avenue area of northeast Kansas City, Mo., has earned several Kansas State University students a distinguished recognition from the Kansas City chapter of the American Institutes of Architects.

“Independence Avenue Urban Vision Study” by the urban design studio at the Kansas City Design Center, or KCDC, recently received an Honor Award from the American Institutes of Architects chapter. The students’ project won the award in an open category, competing against professional work that included built projects.

The design center is a nationally recognized service learning program that is a joint academic partnership between Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign, and the School of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Kansas.

“The project was driven by the realization that absent of the demand for high-density development, the state of progressive vacancy and fragmentation of urban fabric will continue,” said Vladimir Krstic, professor of architecture at Kansas State University and the director of the Kansas City Design Center.

“Rather than dreaming up a complete city, the students’ design focus was shifted toward confronting the unyielding reality of the place and devising strategies to convert the problematic conditions into positive attributes creating the possibilities for urban transformation that is true to its own circumstances.

“I think this award also a recognition of the sustained importance of our mission to promote relevance of urban design on both professional and academic levels,” Krstic said. “I am extremely proud of the past generation of the KCDC students who produced the project, as well as previous generations who have been a part of our efforts to build excellence of the program.”

The project was funded and done in collaboration with the Kansas City, Mo., planning department, the Mid-America Regional Council and the North East Alliance Together neighborhood association, all who formed the primary stakeholder group in the project.

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