Katz Hall Preview - 1965 Building by Architects, Kivett and Myers

Join KCMODERN in celebrating a successful Mid-Century Modern adaptive reuse.

Tuesday June 15, 2010, 5:30 to 7:00 PM at UMKC Campus
Katz Hall-UMKC Grand Re-Opening
5005 Rockhill Road KCMO
Tour Katz Hall, formerly Katz School of Pharmacy, built in 1965 by architects Kivett and Myers. The Mid-Century Modern building has been renovated to house the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design.

Save the Date for KCMODERN June Events

June is proving to be a big month for KCMODERN. We have partnered on a couple great events and we are planning a wonderful roadtrip. Please join us for:

Friday June 4, 2010, 10:00 AM in Wichita, Kansas
In-Depth Tour of the Allen-Lambe House by Frank Lloyd Wright
Tour to be given to KCMODERN enthusiasts by Howard Ellington, Executive Director of the Allen-Lambe House Foundation and Architect of the Allen-Lambe House Restoration.

Friday June 4, 2010, 6:30 PM in Newton, Kansas
Charles Phoenix Slide Show in Kansas
Roadtrip with us to see this great show.

Sunday, June 6, 2010, 2:00 to 4:00 PM at Hudson Home
Modernism 1.1: Modern Interior Design that Endures
Sponsored by Knoll Studio, Knoll Textiles and Hudson Home

Tuesday June 15, 2010, 5:30 to 7:00 PM at UMKC Campus
Katz Hall-UMKC Grand Re-Opening
5005 Rockhill Road KCMO
Tour Katz Hall, formerly Katz School of Pharmacy, built in 1965 by architects Kivett and Myers. The Mid-Century Modern building has been renovated to house the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design .

Modern Photo of the Week - Kauffman Stadium by Kivett and Myers in honor of Royals Opening Day

In honor of opening day for the Royals I thought I would post this image of an early design phase model of Kauffman Stadium. Notice that the ground level bowl wraps the entire field and that the signature fountains are not yet thought of. The spiral ramps are only one level high and the backwards cantilever of the upper deck is minimal compared to the final dramatic cantilever built. Also missing is the sexy upper deck canopy and lighting standards. The iconic crown scoreboard has not taken shape yet because this model was built at about the time the Kansas City A's left for Oakland. To the left one can see the first version of the infamous rolling roof, designed to cover either Arrowhead or Kauffman. What is most apparent in this model is the dramatic sculptural form of Kansas City's unique stadium beginning to take shape.

Consider this image a teaser for many more great Kivett and Myers images that will be appearing soon thanks to KCMODERN reader Chris Fein.

Name: Model of Kauffman Stadium
Opened as Royals Stadium
Part of the Truman Sports Complex
Architect: Kivett and Myers
Year Designed: circa 1968
Builder: Unknown
Year Completed: Spring 1973
Size: N/A
Location: Kansas City, MO
Type: Outdoor Baseball Stadium
Style: Brutalist Modern
Status: Altered
Photographer: Unknown

Clarence Kivett, Architect- "What's the Story on that House"-The Cumonow House

Many of us have driven by this house for years...This is a rare residential design by the prominent Kansas City firm Kivett and Myers (there is only one other residential design the firm did that we know of; Ralph Myers designed two of his own homes).
A true ranch house, stretching across its site, it features a superb play of light and ventilation. It has been said that Clarence Kivett was closely and personally involved in the design of this house. The roof was originally a heavy wood shingle... This house is a prime example of a truly lavish ranch house design.
Looking at the plans I found these interesting interior perspectives... you have a "before", what the architect envisioned and an "after", the way it looks today...

The sun-shade below may have been inspired by the Cliff May designed home next door (1948- recently demolished) which had movable canvas sun "controllers".
The house is lovingly and sensitively maintained by it's owners.
Photography by Bob Greenspan

Kivett & Myers - A Synagogue designed functionally and aesthetically

Name: A Synagogue designed functionally and aesthetically - project
Architect: Kivett & Myers, Kansas City, MO
Year Designed: Circa 1952
Builder: N/A
Year Built: N/A
Size: N/A
Location: Unknown, probably Kansas City, MO or Central Plains
Type: Religious
Style: Modern
Status: N/A
Scanned from:
Climate & Architecture
Progressive Architecture Book
Jeffrey Ellis Aronin
Reinhold Publishing Corporation
New York, U.S.A. 1953

I was reading a vintage architecture book about "Climate and Architecture" and came accross this handsome little drawing. I love it when my two great interests, Mid-Century Modern and Sustainable Architecture, collide.

We know that Kivett and Myers designed several Jewish Synagogues, the most famous being the now demolished Temple B'nai Jehuda in Kansas City, MO. We also know there is a Kivett and Myers designed Synagogue in Omaha, Nebraska. It is unclear if this design was ever built somewhere, but I do not think it was built in KC.

Ted Seligson-Architect FAIA- Telling the Story of KC's Mid-Century Architecture

KCModern just completed a Video-Oral History with Ted Seligson, Architect, and Professor of Architecture at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. We recorded a two and a half hour interview in the conservatory at Epperson House, UMKC. In the photo above, Tom James ( Creative Media Services) our videographer prepares Ted for the recording. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Ted began work (1948) for Kivett, Myers and McCallum, soon becoming head of design for the firm. Below, for K&M he designed the Gerson Building in the Miesian manner and incorporated the tiles as influenced by Edward Durell Stone's 1958-59 award winning embassy in New Delhi, India.

Ted started his own office in 1962 at the New York Life building, later moving to the Power and Light building. Some examples of Seligson and Associates work: The two photos below show a custom "lifestyle" home he did in 1978-79, near Johnson Dr. and Foster in Merriam, KS. Difficult to photo and with numerous additions, it is hard to see his original concept featuring numerous curved "sky-windows" covering galleries, etc. He also designed the interiors.
This is a wonderful site with extensive natural landscaping overlooking a pond.
The tasteful and nicely scaled building below was built in 1978 for the Koch Equipment Company on a difficult site, (many of us have driven by 100's of times on I-35 Hwy) bordered by light industrial on one side and a highway on the other. Note: Ted's window arrangement and favorite doors at the time.
A much larger commission for the Seaboard Allied Milling Company building(1978-80) with wraparound ribbon windows, recessed first floor on the facade, all electric heating and cooling, an interior landscape of partitions with a central skylight
Ted noted the off-center entry canopy and stated the firm often tried to introduce irony and humor in the their architecture. There are those doors again...
The house below was built in 1994 on a large golf course lot in Hallbrook subdivision, Leawood, KS. Ted, in his "cheeky" way, said the owner was adamant about having white brick.

Ted has a unique place in Kansas City architectural history. He was young enough and enthusiastic enough to explore and question directly, many architects considered "Masters" today...such as Bruce Goff, Mies Van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright and he had direct interaction with noted architects: Helmut Jahn, Michael Graves, Steve Holl and Gunnar Birketts, to name a few. His skills were good enough to work for a prominent local modernist firm (K&M) at a young age, and he shared his first independant office with Bruce Goff... living and dying by the telephone, as so many architects have... In addition, he believes his preservation work has been very important, including his efforts to preserve Union Station in KCMO and the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, MO. All I can say is his anecdotes are priceless... He is truly a gentleman and a scholar... We extend a HUGE KCModern salute to Mr. Seligson and his life's work.

Cumonow Residence by Kivett and Myers, Architects - Rambling Ranch House - Modern Photo of the Week

Name: Cumonow Residence
Architect: Kivett and Myers
Year Designed: 1951
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: 1951
Size: 3400 sq. ft. (720 sq. ft. on lower level)
Location: Mission Hills, Kansas
Type: Residential
Style: California Ranch
Status: Excellent
Photographer: Robert McLaughlin

This large Rambling Ranch built by the Cumonow Family is a rare residential example of the work of Kansas City's venerable Modernist Architects, Kivett and Myers. It is said to have been designed by Clarence Kivett himself. It is sited in one of Kansas City's most prestigious neighborhoods right smack next to the site of the Cliff May Mega ranch that was torn down a few years ago. This large brick ranch house steps down to follow its equally large site just like the neighboring Cliff May house did. The question is, can we assume that this fine home is safe?

This home is scheduled to be on the upcoming Out and About Wright: Kansas City Tour put on by the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy. More information about the tour at savewright.org

Modernism at Risk - Kivett and Myers

I was in the Crossroads area of Kansas City, MO the other day when I saw the Kivett and Myers and McCallum designed commercial building in the Mies Van Der Rohe manner, with clean lines and walls of glass. . .
I stopped, got out of the car and took theses snapshots of the building. Click on images to enlarge.Upon closer inspection, I could see deteriorating elements such as cracked and missing blocks on the "light and shadow" lower facade. . .Many metal frames are rusted and up close you can see the differed maintenance. This is a great looking little building done in 1961. Sorry for this last shot, the sun wasn't cooperating. I wanted to show the juncture of the tiles and the way the tile wall kind of makes your eyes vibrate. Note the door with cool handles.It looks as if it feels taken for granted, so many cars pass by daily. We can ill afford to lose another K & M designed building. We should be celebrating K & M buildings, but unfortunately we've watched some of them deteriorate and/or get torn down.

THEN & NOW -- Conecting the Dots- Ralph Myers House

I agree with Robert, I'm a big fan of Kivett and Myers work. Though the firm did very little residential work, Ralph Myers designed his own home, as seen here in the newspaper, built by Don Drummond in Prairie Village, KS in 1947. The house featured passive solar heating through the large south windows and outdoor living on the "protected" patio. The recent photo is as close to the angle of the vintage photo as I could get. A privacy fence blocks any view of the alterations that enclosed and changed the original intent of the design. The house has additions and modifications that make it unrecognizable as originally built.

Modern Photo of the Week - Missouri Public Service

Name: Missouri Public Service
Architect: Kivett and Myers
Year Designed: circa 1955
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: 1956
Size: Unknown
Location: Raytown, MO
Type: Commercial
Style: Modern
Status: Endangered
Photographer: Brad Finch

You may be beginning to notice that I love the work of Kivett and Myers. This is my favorite remaining building by that firm. I just love the sun louvers, which operated automaticaly and I think that the building has a timeless quality to it. You can go into the architectural journals of today and see many architects trying to achieve a similar aesthetic.

Bonus Modern Photo of the Week - More of Katz Drug

Since we missed posting a photo of the week last week and since we are on the topic of Katz Drug, I thought that I would present you with this vintage image of the mid-town Katz. Don't you just love that neon sign? I would love to see a color shot of that Katz Cat lit up. See the image below for the details on this building.

Modern Photo of the Week - Katz Drug

Name: Katz Drug
(most recently Osco Drug, before that it was a Skaggs Drug)
Architect: Clarence Kivett
(Later a Partner in the firm, Kivett and Myers)
Year Designed: 1934
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: early 1934
Location: Main Street & Westport Road, Kansas City, MO
Type: Commercial Retail
Style: Streamline Moderne, Art Deco
Status: Unoccupied, For Sale and Endangered
Photo by: Robert McLaughlin

The premiere Katz Drug Store (#9) location at Main and Westport Road was about to be the setting for the latest crime against Modern Architecture in Kansas City. The recent purchase of the Osco Drug chain by CVS Drugs, and the proximity to another CVS drugstore, had left that location's future in question.

The midtown location was one of the first buildings designed by Clarence Kivett in 1934 and it became the first in long line of buildings designed by Kivett and Myers for the Katz Drug chain, owned by Kivett's uncles, Isaac and Michael Katz. It seems that particular building has received a stay of execution as CVS has not sold the building yet and it has recently been successfully added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Landmarks.

This building is a wonderful demonstration of the late Streamline Moderne Style. Alan Hess, architect and author of Googie called it a classic example of "building as billboard," with its masonry and neon clock pylon marking Main Street for miles in either direction.

Modern Photo of the Week - Temple B'nai Jehuda by Architects, Kivett and Myers

Name: Temple B'nai Jehuda
Architect: Kivett and Myers
Year Designed: Unknown
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: 1969
Location: 69th and Holmes, Kansas City, Missouri
Type: Synagogue
Style: Sculptural Expressionistic
Photographer: Brad Finch
Clarence Kivett and Ralph Myers were the patriarchs of Modern Architecture in Kansas City. They mentored and entire generation of modernists within their office. Their work spanned some forty years of modernism as they matured their style in the Kansas City area. This building was described as an 82 foot concrete tent for worship.