Liz Ponder, AIA Elected to APT Central Plains Board of Directors

Helix architect and in-house preservation guru Liz Ponder, AIA has been elected to the Association for Preservation Technology Central Plains’ chapter (APTCP) Board of Directors. The APT is a cross-disciplinary membership organization dedicated to promoting the best technology for historic structures and their settings, and its Central Plains chapter serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. 

As a founding member, Helix has been involved with the organization since its inception in 2009, carrying out its mission through our extensive portfolio of historic preservation work.

On the heels of her election, we asked Liz a few questions about her practice and involvement with APTCP.

Q: What prompted your interest in historic preservation projects?

A: I’ve always been fascinated by buildings that tell stories, and historic buildings often have the best, most complex stories to tell. You can’t replicate the feeling you get walking into a building that’s stood for 100 years or more. It changes how you feel about yourself and what you’re doing there. It’s elevating.

Q: What brought you to Helix?

A: I’ve admired Helix’s work since I moved to Kansas City. It’s rare to find a studio that does both new construction and adaptive reuse really, really well. Helix’s work is everywhere in Kansas City, but each project is so thoughtful and individual that you never get a sense of oversaturation.

Q: Why was it important for you to get involved with APTCP?

A: APT is really the gold standard in terms of research and education for preservation professionals, so I’ve always wanted to be involved in some way. Preservation can also often be very regional. The styles, materiality and trade practices can vary pretty widely from area to area. Being new to Kansas City a few years ago, I really wanted to dive into the knowledge base here and learn as much as I could.

Q: How has APTCP helped your professional development?

A: Architecture, but preservation in particular, is so much about absorbing the experience and knowledge of the people around you. The APTCP membership is so talented, knowledgeable, and welcoming. I’ve had so much fun getting to know them. APTCP’s programming here in town and elsewhere in the Central Plains is also really stellar (and often open to non-members). I can’t recommend their workshops and seminars enough.

Q: What preservation project stands out to you as an important lesson in preservation technology?

A: I think the most exciting preservation (and adaptive reuse) projects are able to leverage “old ways” of doing things and cutting edge technology together to benefit the building. Through APTCP, I was able to participate in a tour and seminar about the mechanical updates of the Nebraska capitol. It might sound dry, but it was absolutely fascinating. The utilization of cutting edge BIM and cloud-based software and knowledge of traditional building methods required for the project’s success was staggering.