New Crossroads Office Building Connects Workplace Tenants with Neighboring Community

19 Main is the first new construction office building in the Crossroads area in more than 60 years. Developed as an extension of the historic Corrigan Station, every architectural move was designed to support and enhance urban vitality. While Copaken Brooks and 3D Development wanted to provide progressive office space for lease, their goal was also to ensure the building was closely connected to neighboring public spaces.

Located in a thriving arts ecosystem, 19 Main is on a prominent corner along the Kansas City streetcar route. The Helix design team was mindful of the streetcar’s impact, considering not only how the property would interact, but how it would reenergize downtown.

“In designing 19 Main, we wanted to be sensitive to scale and connect it closely with the neighborhood. This busy intersection is highly traversed and an important stop on the streetcar line.”

On the street level, the building pulls away from the edge of the site to create a public plaza that encourages pedestrian activity, invites people into the building, and defers to the streetcar stop on the corner. A courtyard nestled between the historic Corrigan Building and 19 Main is just one of the strategic insertions and connections that provide for a public amenity.

“In designing 19 Main, we wanted to be sensitive to scale and connect it closely with the neighborhood. This busy intersection is highly traversed and an important stop on the streetcar line. We came up with the concept to create an urban oasis that would be accessible to building tenants and the public. As a result, a small, park was added between 19 Main and the Corrigan Building. It provides the perfect spot to work, relax, and reconnect,” said Evan Fox, AIA, Principal, Architect, Helix Architecture + Design.

Designed as a modern complement to the adjacent, 100-year-old structure, 19 Main accommodates companies of small-to-medium size with Class A office space in the urban core. The building includes covered parking and a large retail space on the first floor, additional tenant space on the second floor, and seven micro-office suites on the third floor.

The restrained material palette is rooted in the history of the existing building and the raw nature of the neighborhood. Site-cast concrete encases the ground level and is formed to mimic corrugated steel, a prominent material on the historic building. The upper two floors are clad in anthra zinc panels, folded into more than 3,000 fins that wrap the building in a repetitive, rhythmic pattern. The minimal, natural material palette of the exterior was pulled into the interior, which also maintains the dramatic angles and linearity of the design.
Within 19 Main’s striking simplicity and geometry, each level of the building is a blank canvas for tenants. The open floorplate on the second floor can be divided among future lessors, while still ensuring each group has access to the rooftop terraces and the natural daylight that comes through floor-to-ceiling windows.

“Providing views was another way the design team connected 19 Main to the neighborhood. The building cantilevers to the south over a public sidewalk. This allows for views up and down the street to the east. From the third floor common space, tenants can see downtown, as well as all the way to Crown Center,” said Fox.

Though it’s designed for private work environments, 19 Main embraces the public. Courtyards, a public plaza, and connections to the streetcar ensure this new property will integrate and grow with this vibrant part of downtown Kansas City.

Photography by Michael Robinson.