Proj Overview

The Kansas City Art Institute student housing project consists of a four-story, 227-bed student residence building with a one-story adjacent dining center. The residence hall will be the first of several projects on campus that are centered around a major initiative focused on the freshman experience that is intended to attract and retain top level freshman art students.

Elements of the mediums students will be studying are interwoven throughout the building’s design. Students can also use areas of the building as a canvas to showcase their own work. Spaces are designed to celebrate the individuality of each student while building community around the journey they are sharing together. Architecturally, the student housing project represents a transformational, iconic new building that compliments the history and traditions of this particular art institute while expressing its forward-thinking evolution.

Tapered windows that utilize pops of color achieved with a field applied stain are a key design element. This design feature, when combined with the multi-finish precast exterior (a combination of acid-etch combined with a retarder finish), creates a striking visual presence on the campus.

For the interior, an 'honesty of materials' theme prevails. The interior wythe of concrete (which is primarily structural gray) is left exposed with a sandblast finish. The exposed sandblast finish is seen in the corridor, study alcoves, gym room as well as the interior walls of the individual dorm rooms.

In some areas, interior integral color precast panels continue to the exterior creating an unmistakable connection from the exterior to interior. That connection from the exterior to the interior is best illustrated in the panel on the back wall of the grandstand tiered seating area.


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Project Team


Helix Architecture + Design


Bob D Campbell and Associates

General Contractor and PCI-Certified Erector:

JE Dunn Construction


Kansas City Art Institute

Precast Concrete Specialty Engineer:

Consulting Engineers Group


Enterprise Precast Concrete

Key Project Attributes

A key design feature is the tapered windows with pops of color achieved with the field-applied stain. This combined with the multi-finish precast exterior (a combination of acid etch combined with a retarder finish) creates a striking visual presence on the campus.

Project/Precast Scope

31,369 square feet of insulated precast wall panels.
Acid etch and retarder on the surface face.
Sandblast for the exposed interior face.

12" thick panels with 4.5 average thickness of concrete at the face of panel.
Piece count:  282 pieces-heaviest piece is approximately 17,500 pounds
Precast wall panels:  222
Quantity of Precast Parapet pieces: 14
Quantity of precast trim @CW: 46