LEED Gold for The Barney Building

Photos by Mike Sinclair.

In early February, The Barney Building was officially LEED Gold certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certification is an indication of a building designed, constructed and operating with sustainability in mind. RMTA’s client, Karbank Real Estate, approached RMTA to generate design schematics for the 1968 commercial office building late in the summer of 2012. Attracted to the mid-century character of this particular building and it’s prime location in town, the group wanted to re-use the existing structure. The design team was charged with maintaining that character while completely renovating and modernizing the 32,000 square foot building.

The Barney Building, before

The Barney Building

Built with load-bearing masonry walls, the existing structure’s main design features included exterior pre-cast concrete columns, slit windows and pre-cast concrete fascia crowning the building. Challenged with keeping the mid-century character, the design team worked from the existing 4’ module of the building. A load-bearing masonry façade on the south and a portion of the east were removed, re-structured and replaced with a thermally broken curtain wall system with insulated glazing units. On the north façade, existing window openings were widened and the entry was re-designed. With the entire south, east and a portion of the north facades newly glazed, more than 50% of the building is composed of glass, allowing for natural daylight throughout. For sun control, motorized daylight filtering shades were integrated into all spaces within the building.

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

Previously, the building lacked a primary sense of entry. The design team added a vestibule that included a wood veneer rainscreen clad canopy, and created a courtyard with custom designed steel and composite bamboo benches. The area is surrounded by landscaping that includes a thick growth of bamboo, utilized in the landscaping throughout the property. A fourth floor was added to the building, an extrusion of the existing structural grid. Utilizing existing geometry of the building created balance and a seamless transition between the original structure and the addition. The existing pre-cast concrete fascia was clad with zinc-faced phenolic panels, mimicked by using to face the cantilevered canopies and deck of the top floor.

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

Mid-design, the client decided he wanted to relocate his offices to the fourth floor of the building, and wanted a flexible environment, incorporating elements that would make spaces within the building conducive to hosting events. A patio that wraps around the north and east side of the building cantilevers from the fourth-floor addition, featuring the same bamboo composite used on the courtyard benches on the patio decking.

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

In the fourth floor office space, a movable wall system and partition was custom designed, allowing for the conference room to be fully opened and integrated into the lobby and reception area, exposing floor to ceiling windows spanning the southeast corner of the building with unobstructed views of midtown Kansas City; unable to find a prefabricated product that fit the client’s desire for the space and design team’s vision for the wall system, parts were ordered, the doors custom fabricated by a local supplier, and the system assembled on-site. The wall system was specifically designed to provide the client with varying degrees of enclosure or exposure of the conference area for business use or events.

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

The design intent of the project centered around layering materials, planes and forms throughout the building exterior and interior. Nickel-jointed, sustainably harvested, regionally sourced Cyprus slats extend from exterior soffits to interior spaces. Spatial planes throughout the space never intersect or collide, but terminate into reveals.

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

The client, an industrial developer with a family-owned business, holds a portfolio of large, industrial buildings with a large amount of exposed steel. Throughout the space, the design team wanted to create these reveals exposing structural elements like steel beams as a kind of homage to the client and heritage of the family business. Throughout the fourth floor interior spaces, the ceiling and wall planes were constructed in sections, revealing exposed steel beams and other structural elements.

In the chairman’s office, the client requested a view looking east down the fourth-floor patio along the north face of the building extending into the tree canopies beyond. The design team took the request a step further, extending the space out from the north plane of the fourth floor, glazing the east, south and west walls and cantilevering the roof 13 feet to provide a 270-degree view unobstructed by corner columns. The load is transferred via a moment plate that can be seen along with a section of structural beams in the center of the ceiling of the office.

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

The Barney Building, substantial date of completion March 2014

In an effort to improve the marketability of the building and support healthful lifestyles, a 1,150 square foot fitness center was designed on the first floor of the building and two all-cedar saunas in the ladies and mens locker rooms were included. To the north, a two-story parking garage was added to maximize space, including bike racks and electric car charging stations. Locally sourced Kansas limestone was used for lobby flooring and painted brick was sourced from over-runs on other jobs from this particular client. This past fall, two 65 kW capstone micro-turbine gas generators were installed, providing the building’s primary power source and the capability to be taken off the main power grid. The capstone micro-turbine energy solution is equivalent to that of taking 92 average U.S. passenger vehicles off the road or CO2 reduction from the equivalent of 96 acres of pine or fir forest.

Completed in the spring of 2014, The Barney Building was designed to transform the 1968 building from a Class C to a Class A office, providing flexibility for hosting events, and incorporating sustainability practices to achieve it’s LEED Gold certification. Since it’s substantial date of completion, 5 tenants have now leased office spaces and the client has hosted almost a dozen events in the building. The building has revitalized its corner of Mission Woods along the Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor and is now one of the most desirable high-end leasable office spaces in town.

The Barney Building // 41,700 sq ft // Architecture, interiors //Mission Woods, KS


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