the west bottoms Design.2010 Kansas City Design Center | Urban Design Studio 2010-2011
Central Industrial District Association Kansas City Industrial Council Unified Government. Kansas City, Kansas
Kansas City Design Center Urban Design Studio 2010-2011 Edited by Jesse Husmann
The Kansas City Design Center supports educational initiatives that help build public awareness of the factors that influence the character of the public realm. The KCDC also works to strengthen the educational experience of future design practitioners by engaging university faculty and students with real-world issues facing Kansas Cityâ€™s built environment. Our educational programs are built around our resident urban design studio, through which faculty and students form partnerships with local client groups to develop design concepts and implementation proposals addressing major architectural, urban design and urban planning issues throughout metropolitan Kansas City. The KCDC also coordinates and facilitates academic studio projects by faculty from our affiliated programs. Copyright 2010 Kansas City Design Center Urban Design Studio. All rights reserved.
the west bottoms The West Bottoms is an area in the heart of the greater metropolitan area of Kansas City. It lies at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers and occupies land in both states. It is a triangular district bounded by the two rivers and the Bluff to the East. It was once the economic center of the city, back when the railroads and stockyards were the lifeblood for Kansas City. The flat terrain of the floodplain was ideal for the railroads to come through, and with the advent of the stockyards, the West Bottoms became an essential link between the West and the East, the South and the North. The same attributes that made the area prime for the networks of railroads also created the threat of disastrous floods. After the floods of 1903 and 1908 many of the residential, retail, and passenger rail services vacated the West Bottoms and relocated to higher ground. The economic center moved to the current downtown, and what was left in the West Bottoms was largely stockyards and other industrial uses. After the 1951 flood the West Bottoms was all but abandoned by Kansas City. The stockyards suffered immense losses, and there was a further exodus from the area. Even today, the threat of the floodplain affects development and prospects in West Bottoms. And despite the recent revitalization of Downtown, the River Market, and the Crossroads, very little of that development has moved westward, into the Bottoms. Today it is largely by-passed by locals and visitors alike. The interstates cut across the West Bottoms above most buildings, and well above the street level. The traffic
02 moves by seemingly without noticing or impacting the area below, but there is an impact. The highways have created new barriers and borders, further fragmenting the West Bottoms from the rest of the city and even within itself. There are now several distinct districts within the West Bottoms, each with its own character and potential for growth. The West Bottoms clearly differs from the larger context of Kansas City. There is a constant rush of traffic above, while an active industrial, freight and train traffic creates a constantly changing, dynamic environment within the area. The buildings have a unique density and texture that is not found in many places in the city. The area is vibrant and has a life all its own. All of these elements
combine to create surprising spaces, some temporary, some accidental, but very distinct to the area. And though the sense of abandonment and neglect is strong, the sense of life, character, spirit and potential is far stronger. Today the area is referred to as the Central Industrial District. The industrial element is a huge part of the heritage, character, and life of the area, but there are presently opportunities to allow for more residential and retail development and growth in the area by rezoning much of the district as mixed-use. This opportunity has the potential for creative interventions, emphasizing the West Bottomsâ€™ continuing relevance for Kansas City.
12th Street + I-670 Junction Bounded by 12th, Genessee, 14th, and Hickory and bisected by I-670, the front door to the West Bottoms is a major transportation hub, connecting the various parts of the district to each other and to the cities and region beyond. One could be forgiven, however, for not realizing this while traveling through the space; it is small, very busy, and extremely confusing. Furthermore, it fails to provide a strong "front door" experience for the Central Industrial District, depriving visitors of a clear gateway or easy access to future amenities. We can create a better experience while knitting the Central Industrial District and surrounding areas together through a variety of interventions. Chief among these is the creation of an open, public green space and transportation hub that will serve both future residents of and visitors to the district. Accompanying this is a dedicated area along the improved Hickory Street corridor for community amenities adjacent to the likely residential historic core. Furthermore, there is tremendous potential to provide visitors parking and a place to stay to the north of this zone, unique to this area for its easy access to and views from the interstate. Not to be neglected, currently-existing and necessary service functions can be accommodated on the south end of a simplified traffic loop tying entry points to the Central Industrial District to Hickory Street. Accommodating both vehicle and pedestrian, visitor and resident, we aim to create a front door that announces the unique character of the Central Industrial District and contributes vitally to its daily life. Please browse the drawings at right for a more-detailed discussion of our specific research and interventions.
LACK OF PLACE
SIMPLIFY CIRCULATION CREATE OPEN SPACE
SIMPLIFY CIRCULATION CREATE OPEN SPACE
JAMES ST / C CENTRAL CEN ST T DEVELOPMENT OP PM H CKOR HICKORY
STOCKYARDS / STOCK SOUTH OUTH OF I-670 DEVELO DEVELOPMENT
CREATE EXPERIENCE RELOCATE FUNCTIONS
PUBLIC / GREEN SPACE TRANSPORTATION HUB
07 THIRD PROPOSAL CID “FRONT DOOR”
VEHICULAR CIRCULATION ELEVATED CIRCULATION PRIMARY LOOP PEDESTRIAN CIRCULATION CONNECTION ROUTES GATEWAYS HOTEL / PARKING FUEL GREEN / PUBLIC + TRANSPO. HUB COMMUNITY AMENITIES BUILDINGS INCORPORATED BUILDINGS RELOCATED
1: BOTTOM OF 12TH STREET VIADUCT
2: BOTTOM OF JAMES STREET VIADUCT
3: I-670 EASTBOUND OFFRAMP
4: I-670 WESTBOUND OFFRAMP
Hickory Street is the primary north-south corridor in the West Bottoms, running almost the entire length of the eastern side. This street is the spine and reference point for the surrounding activity. It is a large-scale anchoring system, which can define and contrast the smaller systems. These smaller systems take the form of courtyard spaces, view corridors, framed open space, spaces below and above infrastructure, no-man’s-land, and alleys. Hickory serves to connect the identified important districts containing these individual systems: The Woodsweather Industrial district, Central Ave. (and its subsequent connection to the re-established James Street grid), the historic core, the “landing point” of both 12th St. and I-670 automotive viaducts, and the urban agriculture of the Stockyards District. The concept for this corridor came from looking at open spaces within the city blocks, clarifying and extending Hickory itself. The completion of a network of spaces necessitated a look at its support corridors: Mulberry and Liberty. These established corridors and their subordinate network of alley and open spaces are clarified by infill pieces and smaller-scale zoning. These north-south connectors skewer and define the interactions that happen on an east-west axis.
LONGITUDINAL SECTION HICKORY LOOKING WEST
I-670 section facing north 100
0 25 50
8th STREET section facing north 100
0 25 50
UNION AVE section facing north 100
0 25 50
section facing north 100
0 25 50
11th STREET section facing north 100
0 25 50
13th STREET 13th STREET section facing north 0 25 50
section facing north 0 25 50
Central/ 9th Liberty
0 25 50
0 25 50
ST. RTY LIBE
INTER-CITY VIADUCT I-70
11 8th ST.
ST. LOUIS AVE.
12th ST. VIADUCT
PARTI Exterior Condition Interior Condition Implied network
Commercial Mixed Use
urban open space
PUBLIC / OPEN SPACE
URD/Residential Mixed Use
0 25 50
secondary routes 17th ST. 0 25 50
0 25 50
0 25 50
South I-670 + Stockyards
When creating an initial concept for the stockyards region of the West Bottoms, there are two aspects that stand out the most: the history of the structures that once stood there, and the vast open space that remains in their wake. Through our analysis, we have understood that in the late 1800s the two elements of the railroad and stockyards formed the economic foundations of what would become Kansas City. Their built structures were fascinating examples of â€œform follows function.â€? Even though their function does not exist today, there is an order to be found in their old forms that should not be forgotten. Rail lines ran along the east bank of the Kansas River, and stockyards pens and ramps ran adjacent to them. This affected the growth of three different grid systems in the West Bottoms: one perpendicular to the river; one in a typical north-south city grid, and a third irregular condition where these two grids intersect each other. This understanding aided us in finding some sort of order amongst the disorder of this site. The stockyards and rail yards were huge systems which spread across much of the West Bottoms; Even in their absence, their scale can be understood by the sprawling areas of vacant land where they once stood. We identified three such areas south of I-670: the riverfront, where the stockyards once were; the area along the bluff, where rail yards once stood, and the vast parking lot in front of Kemper Arena, where buildings once were. We recognize the unique situation of having this large amount of open, relatively flat space, so near to the downtown of a large city. We view these spaces as possible assets to the city, and rather than trying to infill them in a traditional way, we have chosen to infill around them, and define them. We chose to identify programs that could benefit the city, and require large amounts of land. For the riverfront, we propose a recreation zone, with pedestrian river access including well defined trails, boardwalks, and parks. The centerpiece for this development will be a soccer/football facility with eight outdoor fields, and approximately 260,000 square feet of indoor support and recreation space. The facility has a sloping green roof which connects it with street level on the west, and allows for audience viewing of athletic events. The form of this facility was informed by the gridded system of the stockyards as explained above. This riverfront zone will connect via pedestrian bridge to the new Kemper outdoor amphitheater. By removing the walls, and retaining the iconic trusses, Kemper could provide a unique venue from Sprint Arena, and attract more events to the West Bottoms. Also, money and energy would no longer be wasted on air conditioning a largely unused indoor space. The parking in front of Kemper would be consolidated in a parking garage, and the remaining space could be used as a large urban plaza served by new shops and restaurants. This space would lead finally, to the area along the bluff, just west of Liberty Street. This area would serve as an urban farming zone for the city, on a much larger scale than the typical community garden, and would serve the West Bottoms and provide agricultural, community, and educational opportunities for people all over Kansas City.
SOUTHERN HICKORY TERMINUS Infill
Civic Vertical Farms Open Space Agriculture
Urban Farming Concept
Stockyards District Spacial Concept
James Street + Central Avenue Central Ave. and James St. are the connective tissue of the industrial northwest of the West Bottoms, creating a bent and twisted axis between the historic core and Kansas City, KS. This connection has the potential to bring together the industrial, commercial, and residential (elements of the hybrid city) in the most interesting configurations. Central is a powerful automotive passageway, leading to the new Forrester Viaduct, which also connects to Bluff Drive and the River Market. At this eastern terminus, Central meets Hickory and Mullberry Streets, the dual backbones of the historic core, and creates a shift in their relationship that distinguishes the northern Woodswether area from the central historic core. James, on the other hand, holds a power visible only through the few remaining vestiges of itsâ€™ historic condition. Once James St. was the entrance to neighborhoods, separating schools and homes from the businesses to itsâ€™ east. Though there are no traces of residential activity in the area today, the resurrection of this historic notion of living and working around James St. leaves open the door to an entirely new development in the West Bottoms. The riverfront trail and proposed park system that form a western edge to the developable area support the possibility of a truly unique type of development in the West Bottoms. The broken street front of James St., instead of being an indication of blight, can be turned into a rhythm of open connections from the built space to the riverfront recreational area. These connections can also bring program to the riverfront trail, engaging not only the future residents of Kansas City, but the national trail system as well.
PARALLEL SYSTEMS RIVERFRONT TRAIL RIVERFRONT DESTINATIONS RIVERFRONT TRAIL EXPANSION HERITAGE TRAIL TRAIL SUPPORT INFILL GREEN SPACE GREEN TRAIL/SYSTEM
Woodswether This region of the West Bottoms consists of many things: industry, heavy infrastructure, and a location right on the Missouri River. There is seemingly no rhyme or reason to how it was planned, and it has a significantly different fabric and character than other areas of the West Bottoms. Historically, this area was formed by accretion of the Missouri River around the turn of the century. Due to this, along with the established industry and civic infrastructure in this area, the potential for development is limited. The northeast corner of this region and the area underneath I-70 has the most potential for development. The majority of interventions will be concentrated in these two areas. The Lewis & Clark Viaduct connects KCK and KCMO, but overpasses the West Bottoms entirely. There is an established pedestrian trail that runs underneath the interstate, which serves as a path that connects the two downtowns. This connection is a significant spine, though it needs to be further supported and extended through its potential for urban expansion and connection to other public interventions throughout the West Bottoms. The northeast corner has the most concentrated open space in this area. This open space is a powerful asset for the area, and maintaining it as support and extension of the trail under I-70 will help to inform an incredible space. This area will be a part of the overall system of public and open spaces. Critical demolition and infill will be used to tie this area back to the denser urban core. Some of this infill will have an incomparable visual connection to the Missouri River, something very few buildings in the greater downtown area can offer. In realizing this proposal, we will create anchors in the Woodswether area and provide better connections throughout and to the region. These anchors and connections will initiate further future development that can be better integrated into this traditionally industrial area.
TRAIL AND ADJACENT SPACES EXISTING PATH UNDERNEATH I-70 ADJACENT OPEN SPACE
PROPOSED TRAIL EXTENSION EXISTING PATH EXTENSION PATH UNDERNEATH I-70 ADJACENT OPEN SPACE DESTINATION OPEN SPACE DESTINATION IN GREATER CID
Urban Vision The composite study is a culmination of the semesterâ€™s work. The plan as it stands is a compilation of all previous analyses, studies, and independent proposals. We established a base layer of elements and systems that make up the unique character and complexity of the West Bottoms that will directly affect any future development there. These include but are not limited to floodplains, brownfields, historic context, the trail system, and elevated roadways. These elements are not a cohesive strategy in and of themselves. To create a strategy, we identified several anchors (buildings, functions, locations) within the West Bottoms and proposed to strengthen connections between them. In doing this, we can reclaim a city that remains true to the character of the West Bottoms. Our intent is to reclaim the riverfront and residual urban fabric to create a recreational and urban destination in the heart of the KC metro area. We will do this through a series of interventions. The first is an urban intervention made up of critical corridors through the dense fabric of the historic core. A system of green and public spaces will be designed in this area to create a vibrant center for the neighborhood of the West Bottoms. The second intervention occurs along the riverfront. By placing critical developments including housing and recreation along the Kansas and Missouri rivers, we can start to create a continuous riverfront. The third intervention revolves around connections between these first two areas. Development along Central Street and in the area around the I-670 off-ramps will be essential in connecting West Bottoms within itself and to greater Kansas City.
100 YEAR WOODSWETHER
500 YEAR MU BERRY
GREEN/OPEN SPACE SPACE PRIMARY PATH SECONDARY PATH
STREET NETWORK + CRITICAL INFILL AUTOMOBILE
CENTRAL & JAMES 12th ST & I-670 SOUTH OF I-670 UNAFFECTED AREA AFFECTED AREA
kansas city design center | urban design studio 2010-2011 1018 Baltimore Avenue Kansas City, MO 64105 816.421.5232 http://studio.kcdesigncenter.org/
Emily Baize Leandra Burnett Amy Finnerty Chris Hinton Jesse Husmann Chris Koch Alex Miller Sarah Murphy Dan Nixon Jared Nook Alyssa Parsons Sarah Pink Kyle Rogler Stephanie Schulz
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Published on Jan 21, 2011
The Kansas City Design Center's Fall 2010 Design Document. Following the development of the West Bottoms Urban Vision Plan, this portion of...