REVERB Loses Some Verve

The original design for the east facade of REVERB featured undulating, vertical white metal ribbons. (Image from City Planning Department)

By Kevin Collison

REVERB, the 14-story apartment tower scheduled to open this summer in the Crossroads, has lost some style on its east side in a revised plan endorsed Wednesday by a Council committee, disappointing city planners.

“The approved plan made a striking impression on the emerging Crossroads skyline,” a city planning report observed.

“As it currently stands there, is much less visual interest, in both the skyline generally and this building, when viewed from the east.”

What the building going up at 18th and Walnut is losing are the originally planned vertical white metal ribbons that would have created an undulating effect over the facade.

A representative for Burns & McDonnell, the building’s designer and construction firm, said the ribbons were eliminated because attaching them to the facade required fasteners and joints that would have “deterred from the look.”

The revised design removes the decorative metal ribbons from the east facade. (Image from City Planning Department)

“This version is more timeless and will look great for years to come,” said Kristine Sutherlin, a project manager for Burns & McDonnell. “The panels will change color throughout the day.”

The 132-unit apartment tower being built for Copaken Brooks also will be losing some of its sidewalk appeal along Walnut due to revisions to the original streetscape design, according to city planners.

“It was imperative that this section of the building be activated as well as sufficiently landscaped, to soften the harsh appearance of what was initially a blank wall and unlandscaped sidewalk,” according to the report.

“The plans presented in this revision pare down the pedestrian amenities quite significantly and do much less to activate this section of Walnut Street.

“The screening and activation of the eastern façade is mediocre and does little to encourage pedestrian safety or enjoyment of the space.”

The REVERB project under construction at 18th and Walnut is expected to have a topping out ceremony in late March.

Burns & McDonnell also is the designer of the planned new headquarters of Waddell & Reed at 14th and Baltimore, another building with a ground level design that’s run into criticism.

The planning staff did recommend that decorative, integrated, or architectural lighting, art, or similar design elements be added to the street level façade along Walnut Street.

An additional 2,000 square feet of retail/other commercial space will be located on the ground level, including a designated space off Walnut Street for food trucks.

The revised REVERB plan was endorsed unanimously by the Kansas City Council Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee. It will now go to the full Council for final consideration.

The developer of the high-rise apartment building is expected to hold a topping out ceremony for the $40 million project in late March.

The original REVERB streetscape plan along Walnut Street. (Image from City Planning Department)
The revised REVERB streetscape plan endorsed by the Council Committee. (Image from City Planning Department)

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  1. Ugh, show some backbone, KC. How do we expect even the luxury residents to spend any time walking around if the street-scape is so soul-deadening?

  2. Agree with Saul. Not adding the ribbons? Disappointing, but fine. But street-level stores are vital to having a legitimate urban living space. I’m disappointed in the council for approving the stripped-down plan regardless, and angry with Burns & Mac for its demonstration of ineptitude in designing and executing the construction of spaces for downtown KC. For the second time in a week, no less.

  3. Also, “This version is more timeless and will look great for years to come.” I’m borderline insulted by this comment. That’s like if someone were to commission a beautiful painting and the artist giving them a blank canvas as the finished product, calling it the more timeless version. Give me a break.

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