Beach house? In Kansas City? Well, technically Shawnee Mission, but yes. Led by IAA Principal, Majid Amirahmadi, Architect, Andy Short and Designer, Dirk Henke have been working for the past several months to design a new Beach House for Shawnee Mission Park. The existing structure (below), built in 1987, consisted primarily of wood construction materials. In recent years, it had fallen into disrepair. Failing to meet the needs and expectations of today’s park users, IAA was commissioned to re-imagine what a facility of this kind could achieve, both aesthetically and functionally.
In order to better understand the affected community’s vision and expectations, our team facilitated a ‘bench-marking’ critique session with Johnson County Park & Recreation (JCPRD) staff, wherein we evaluated nearly 60 images of similar building typologies. From here, IAA reflected on the top five designs for inspiration and made sure to avoid features expressed within the poorest-performing options. As the design evolved, our team affectionately adopted the name ‘Tidal,’ due to its long, sweeping and curved roof plane, which alludes to a rising ocean wave.
The program for the new beach house consists of an admissions and vending station with motorized security features, an office, ADA-compliant family and public restrooms, and appropriate storage to facilitate the park’s optimal winterization and maintenance programs. Non-combustible construction, steel, concrete, CMU, stucco and fiber-cement panels were all utilized in the design. A continuous ribbon of translucent clerestory windows allows natural light into secure, interior spaces, while also giving the effect of a floating roof over the solid building mass. The roof provides generous shelter and shade for as many as 150 visitors around the perimeter of the building. Park guests using the new ADA-compliant access pathways leading to the water’s edge, are met along the way by a sun deck and shower poles for convenient rinsing off.
Construction will begin shortly, with the beach scheduled to reopen in Spring 2017. We have thoroughly enjoyed teaming with JCPRD in delivering an inviting and highly functional new park beach house. We are looking forward to seeing the community take full advantage of the space on hot summer days, as well as for birthday parties, family reunions, wedding receptions or a number of other happy occasions. Please continue to visit our site for project updates.