Home, Sweet Home

Populous Americas Headquarters

  • Kansas City
  • 2015

Challenge

They say home is where the heart is. Now and since the beginning, the heart of Populous’ Americas practice beats in Kansas City.

Our current Americas headquarters reside at 4800 Main, a building with a rich origin story in its own right. Situated in the midst of KC’s most refined entertainment district, the former Board of Trade Building dates to the 1960s and originally housed a bustling group of commodity traders. Before we could call it home, a team of Populous designers set out in 2014 to modernize the concrete structure and craft it into a hub for design expertise and fresh thinking.

Innovation

Instead of focusing on the result – a building – we focused our design eye on the essence of what makes us Populous: our people. Designing a space for more than 200 talented designers can feel like a herculean task, so we organized our entire design staff, our people, into collaborative design charrettes  to let the best ideas bubble to the top.

The design team took chances and pushed boundaries. A disciplined, cool white environment allows the brand to sing and encourages an activated workplace. An open office benching system serves our immediate and future needs and harkens back to Populous’ entrepreneurial spirit. Branding and dimensional signage are thoughtfully placed to emote energy and foster inspiration.

From the cafe to the lobby, spaces serve a singular purpose: to draw people together. The building’s original trading floor lives on as an expansive auditorium, a place for communal growth and the liaison between our entertainment-focused work and work space.

Externally, an elegant glass curtain wall design modernized the original concrete enclosure. The expression of the vertical metal enclosure is a nod to the once exposed concrete structure, bones that will hold strong for another 50 years. Natural wood and copper detailing and the 48th Street entry pay tribute to an art sculpture once housed on the east  face of the building.

Impact

A storied building enjoys a new life while earning recognition for its preservation and sustainability. 4800 Main contributes to  the historic Country Club Plaza  district, one with a reputation for walkability and iconic architecture. Once famous for trading stocks, the space now acts as a different sort of exchange. Designers of all stripes will share ideas and experiences within its walls for years to come.