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K-State Today

June 25, 2018

Waldo Duplex project wins top honors from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design

By Thom Jackson

Waldo Dulex

From a shortlist of more than 300 buildings and urban planning projects, this year's American Architecture Awards went to exceptional buildings designed for every stage of life. A project by the 2016 el dorado inc Design+Make Studio through Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign was among the winners at the American Architecture Awards by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.

The American Architecture Awards are the nation's highest public awards dedicated to cutting edge design, sustainability, functionality and aesthetics that reflect the character of contemporary architecture. El dorado inc and Kansas State University's Design+Make Studio, as the architects for the project, received the American Architecture Award for its Waldo Duplex project. The award was presented June 20 in New York City. 

Since 1994, The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, together with The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and Metropolitan Arts Press, have organized The American Architecture Awards as away in which to honor the best, new significant buildings and landscape and planning projects designed and/or built in the United States and abroad by the most important American architects, landscape architects, and urban planners practicing nationally and internationally and international architects and designers practicing inside the USA.

Waldo is a diverse and dynamic neighborhood in southern Kansas City that doesn't play by the rules of conventional urbanism, but has flourished nonetheless. The major commercial and industrial corridor is immediately flanked by established neighborhoods of single-family bungalows and shotgun homes. In this "anything goes" neighborhood exist opportunities for typological experimentation and architectural innovation.

The Waldo Duplex was designed and built by Kansas State University's Design+Studio and el dorado inc to be a solution to a significant, if unexpected problem in Metropolitan Kansas City. Rent is rising at a rate higher than the national average, negatively impacting lower-income neighborhoods like Waldo. Targeting only households making less than 80 percent of area median income and implementing rent controls, this project is home for two low-income families that want to live and work in Waldo, but otherwise could not afford to.

The building challenges both the historic and the modern typology of the duplex. The Waldo Duplex looks to the inherent benefits of duplex construction, but works to redefine the building typology through an understanding of where it falls short. Typical duplexes isolate their tenants on either side of a partition wall. Instead, the Waldo Duplex brings the tenants and neighbors together through the tradition of the front porch. This amenity not only softens the economical, metal-clad shell of the duplex, but also furthers the communal values that have made Waldo the neighborhood it is today.

APDesign students involved in the Design+make Studio include Jason Barker, Wade Byers, Lannie Cowden, Chenyu Lou, Doan Phram, Jacob Pivonka, Kaitlyn Portner, Zachary Pritchard, Taylor Rice, Andrew Schopen, Brock Traffas, Michael Twitchel, and Emily Whitty all of whom received their Master of Architecture from Kansas State University in May 2017. The client for the project was Botwin Commercial Development; general contractor was Foster's, Inc.

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