Archive for Commercial


First Impressions – IAFE San Antonio

K/O Fairground Planners visited the Alamo while at the IAFE!

Wow!  What a great trip to San Antonio for K/O Fairground Planners at the 2018 IAFE Conference!  It was an excellent few days of visiting with current, former and future fairground visionaries and discussing their fairground’s future plans.  Master planning seems to be on the near horizon for many fairgrounds, as well as several exciting Events Center projects!  Here’s the link to K/O’s Fairground Planning overview video from our booth:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtOgR3RoGgY

K/O Fairground Planners and Designers working hard at the conference

If you stopped by our booth, hopefully you enjoyed, as always, our chocolate treats.  In the spirit of the Alamo, we definitely had people “Come and Take It!”

Come and Take It – the chocolate!

Of course, as architects, we had to catch a few of the local architectural sights while in town and even took in the local Holiday Light Parade on the Riverwalk.  We hope all the convention attendees also got to explore the new surroundings at this Conference and didn’t have to “WAIT…WAIT…WAIT” at too many crosswalks!

We look forward to continuing our discussions that we started during the convention.  Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

Our Post-Thanksgiving Plans

K/O Fairground Planners – We will be there, will you?

Enough with the turkey, bring on the chips and salsa!  K/O Fairground Planners will be exhibiting at the 2018 International Association of Fairs and Expositions Conference (IAFE) which will be held in San Antonio, Texas this year right after Thanksgiving.  We hope to see you at Booth #537 and discuss fairground master planning, growth, or even new facilities as your fairground planner and architect!

Make sure you sign up for our daily give-away!

Way Out West

Bonneville County Fairgrounds Master Plan

K/O Fairground Planners recently completed a Master Plan for the Bonneville County Fairgrounds in Idaho Falls, Idaho.   This fairgrounds is located south of town,next to the Sandy Downs horse racing facility, home of the War Bonnet Rodeo.  It will replace the existing Bonneville County Fairgrounds site that is located within the city and is surrounded on all sides.

Bonneville County Fairgrounds Rodeo Arenas

The premise of the Master Plan was to utilize as much as reasonable the existing infrastructure of the new site and create a plan that complements and aligns with the adjoining Sandy Downs equestrian facilities to the north.  Once complete, the new fairgrounds will not only provide first-class livestock stalling and exhibition areas, but also introduce a thoughtful circulation pattern to the site that will allow for multiple events to be hosted at any one given time. 

Bonneville County Fairgrounds Equestrian Arena

As part of the recently completed Master Plan for the Fairgrounds, K/O Fairground Planners developed some preliminary design concepts for new buildings and barns for the relocated grounds.  New livestock buildings will include anywhere from 48 to 120 stalls each depending on the type of animal and the pen layout.  These structures provide ample circulation space for both livestock and people while maximizing safety and security for all.  Access to natural light and fresh air was a design strategy achieved through mid-barn roof height changes which allowed for clerestories and stack effect circulation as well as enhancing the fairground architecture.

Bonneville County Fairground Stalling Barns

Besides the two new stalling barns – other buildings on the grounds included a new Family Consumer Science Building, renovation of an existing building into animal stalling, and a new Show/Sale Barn.  Other fairground support structures include restrooms and entry gates.  The framework for great fairground architecture and design is set and is ready for their future growth!

I Love NY – The New York State Fair Expo Building

New York State Fair – Expo Center Design

K/O Fairground Planners was part of the design team that helped the New York State Fair undergo a major fast-tracked, phased renovation effort that included fairground infrastructure improvements and new event services at the complex over several years.  These entertainment design program elements were all outlined in a recent master plan effort.

K/O’s effort included involvement on the team that created the design-build bridging documents for the new 136,000 square foot Expo Center Arena Building.  The building architecturally featured vast areas of daylight and a 110,000 square foot clear span column free space.  Future phases of site development, according to the master plan, include a 55,000 square foot Covered Warm-up Arena, 3 open Warm-up Arenas, and Equestrian Stalling Facilities.  The main arena portion of the Expo Hall will have retractable seating for 4,000 patrons.

Other proposed improvements include development of a Picnic Grove and Center Green – including restrooms and pavilions, and improvements to parking, utilities and landscaping.

The building was completed in time for the 2018 Fair and is shown on the New York State Fair’s website – https://nysfair.ny.gov/venue/exposition-center/

Big Plans at The Ranch

Proposed Event Center – The Ranch, Colorado

K/O Entertainment Designers recently finished up their component in the Master Plan document for the “The Ranch” in Loveland, Colorado.   This facility has earned its reputation as one of the premiere event and entertainment complexes in the region. The Master Planning team comprised of several members which partnered with K/O to provide the national expertise in Master Planning and development of fairground and entertainment facilities.  Although not acting as the fairground architect at this time, K/O prepared several programming recommendations for each of the facilities at The Ranch.

Entry Plaza – The Ranch, Colorado

Some of the proposed, strategic components included:  Facility Improvements to the Events Center, Additional/Re-purposed Areas for Community & Youth Development, Renovation/Expansion of Exhibition Hall & Conference Center, New Indoor Arena & Livestock Pavilions, and Site Circulation Enhancements.  The Ranch is wisely planning their future so they have a roadmap to follow as their entertainment venue expands and improves for the years to follow!

Livestock Arena – The Ranch, Colorado

K/O – The Ranch Master Plan

Summer of Fun and Fairs – Photo Recap!

K/O Architects has been busy as Fairground Architects and Fairground Planners attending (and designing) Fairs and Festivals all around the country, and just having a “Good Ol’ Time” this summer! We thought we would include a couple of photos of what we’ve been up to in August. Fairground Design has taken us all around the United States as we have been working on Livestock Barns, Equine Facilities, Exhibition Buildings, Fairground Design and other Entertainment types of projects.

 

We got a chance to visit a couple of NASCAR tracks this summer as we were planning some fairs!

We got a chance to attend a few concerts on Fairgrounds this summer – like Brantley Gilbert and Skid Row! We even had some backstage passes!

We spent the day working a food stand at the Iowa State Fair! There is nothing like first-hand experience to understand what works!

We got to visit the Evergreen State Fair in full swing as part of the Master Planning process! The Ferris Wheel is courtesy of Butler Amusements.

Cool lighting effect on the back of this grandstand at a track our NASCAR feasibility consultants were involved with – DSA Motorsports.

We got a chance to climb the roof tops at the Iowa State Fair this summer as we analyzed flow to better develop our planning concepts!

 

Win with K/O in Vegas! At the Fairs & Expos Conference!

 

Stop by our Booth #1001 at the Fairs & Expos Conference for a Chance to Win!

If you happen to be in Las Vegas next week for… whatever it is you do, or like us, at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions conference held in the Paris Ballroom on November 26th through the 28th. Stop by our booth #1001 and say Hi! We’re the only Fairground Architect or Fairground Designer in the area. We can show you the latest Fairground Master Plan we’ve completed, the latest Equestrian Barn, Livestock Barn, Exhibition Building, or Horse Arena we were the Architect on. Or at least stop by to sign up for all the free stuff we’re giving away. The main give-away on day three is an Amazon Kindle. We’ll also have several other drawings throughout the show each day for smaller items (cool K/O hats, gift cards, casino chips, drink tickets, etc.) – so be sure to stop by each day to get entered. Mention to us you saw this post we’ll make sure you get a gift!

If you cannot make it out to Vegas be sure to get entered in our second chance drawing to be held after the show. Just go to our Contact tab on our website and enter “2012 IAFE Second Chance” in the message box. Also, enter your first/last name, phone number and email so we can reach you! Enter early and often for more chances to win!

K/O will be at the Fairs and Expos trade show in Las Vegas on November 26-28, 2012

Hey, also, as always, in the spirit of great trades shows – who ever sets us up with a solid prospective lead will get a special evening of entertainment on us! For the first time this year (through the magic of the internet) we are opening this up to everyone – even if you cannot attend the show! For those of you not in Vegas, don’t worry we’ll figure something out to make it worth your while! Let us know and we’ll treat you right!

Hope the upcoming month of Holidays bode well for everyone, Have Fun and see you in Vegas, Baby!

K/O Fairground Planners in Vegas, Baby! Yea!

Hot Rods and K/O Architects

Whoa, This is a Car Lovers Dream Come True!

Our latest post features a few snapshots taken from a recent photo shoot at one of our recently completed projects in the Des Moines, Iowa area. This is a bit more than your third car garage addition we typically design at K/O Architects. Conceptually, this project started out as a home for six, then eight vehicles and grew from there. The completed project is now home to eleven cars and four motorcycles – all beautifully maintained and/or restored (there is even room for a few more).

The finish level of this private garage is nicer than most new car showrooms!

Out of respect for privacy, we purposefully are not showing any pictures of the exterior or divulging the name of the owner.

The original idea was to have four cars per side with 20 feet between each to prevent door dings.

If you love mechanical things as much as we do you will no doubt love this garage! Not only is it finely crafted, but it surpasses the fit and finish of most high end spas. The full bar/kitchen is always well stocked and the patio furniture sits ready just outside the full floor to ceiling glass entry wall. Other amenities include being fully wired for video and sound throughout, with a LED big screen in every room (or even more than one screen sometimes); you can even hear music coming from the indoor/outdoor speaker system as you walk around the exterior.

Notice the double curved wood ceiling and custom copper HVAC grilles and diffusers!

You can watch the latest episode of American Chopper or just hang out in the upstairs loft. The room also has a connected luxury bath so you can take a quick shower after working all day under the hood.

The full bar and nearby patio allows for entertaining and relaxing!

This is by far one of the coolest projects we have worked on in recent years. Not to be left out, the tool room rivals the cleanliness of any kitchen in a five star restaurant. Even the butcher block top on the island (occasionally used to dismantle things) is nicer than that in most homes. We bet they could easily whip up a couple of “gourmet” engines in this room!

The Snap-On tool chest fits right in with the wood cabinets of this Tool Room!

Dig Our New Digs! K/O Architects Office!

Wow! What a difference Carpet, and Paint, and Glass, and Plywood, and Plastic, and… make!

We’re finally complete with our overhaul! Whew! Now it’s time to celebrate! We love our new digs and think you will too. Stop by if you’re ever in the neighborhood get your photo taken with the great colorful K/O mural, and we might even buy you something to “whet your whistle” as well as offer you one of our magnificent K/O giveaways (ball caps, coffee mugs, pens, etc.).

If want to make a game of this post see how many different classically designed chairs you can find throughout our office (look at all the photos, hint: zebra striped chairs are Brno flat bar – that’s all the help we’ll give, good luck)!

Reception area looking back into the Office

Located just off of the Avenue of the Arts in the West Glen Town Center (we think we are the only architect this far out in West Des Moines, Iowa) we are within walking distance of many restaurants, bars, shops, and galleries. Conceptually, our office is laid out as an open studio (basically if you need something just stand-up and yell across the office at someone), with no private cubicles or enclosed rooms. This openness defines our office culture nicely.

Be warned though, we do have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde flair – the front half (where you enter and circulate) has a higher level of finish than the back half (basically where the work gets done – copiers, printers, 3D printer, 3D scanner, bulk of the staff, fun stuff, etc. are located here). We did not have this “back of house” at any of our other office locations, we now have a dirty side (with a concrete floor) and a clean side (with carpet). This relaxed atmosphere gives us a place to experiment, build things, take things apart, test out ideas, and not be afraid to mess things up a bit (not a lot – we still want it to look presentable), while still maintaining our business face upfront.

The Back Office – “The Dirty Side”

As we built our office out we chose to use recycled materials and items that were going to be thrown away.

The glass panels installed on our walls (we use them as oversized dry erase marker boards – and believe it or not kids and adults love to draw pictures on them – you just can’t help yourself) were saved from the dumpster of a project we were recently working on. The desks and table tops were repurposed from our old location. The light fixtures were repainted and reused from the previous tenant. The carpet is an extra from a mill run of a custom color that was destined for the grinder (to get it we only had to pay shipping). The plastic panels used as end caps on our walls all have a high recycled content. We could go on and on – but basically you would be amazed at how much money we saved to do it all in an environmentally friendly way. We won’t post what things cost here – but if you would like to find out – visit, and ask us in person.

The K/O Conference Area

Here is an update for now but, we’ll post more about our fun technology stuff and experieiments in the future!

We love all things technical and have installed the latest technology like a LED big screen in the conference room which can wirelessly display what’s on any computer monitor in the office. Coincidently, that same screen acts as a large virtual whiteboard and touch screen thanks to K/O ingenuity, some special software, a Wii remote, and a laser pen. This is handy for hosting webinars, or documenting the course of a meeting as screen snapshots can be taken at any time. We are also experimenting with an X-box 360 Kinect sensor (yes, the same as the one as on the video game console) to scan 3D environments (interestingly enough this can also act as a video recording device). Once we fine tune the software and technique we hope to introduce the Kinect in the field to help us document existing conditions.

The toy creating the most hub-bub around here is our 3D printer – “Yes, we said a 3D printer”! This machine takes a spool of ABS plastic (looks like thick fishing line, ABS is the same stuff Legos are made out of) and melts it to 225 degrees Celsius (to about the consistency of a caramel chew) and lays it down in angel hair thin layers. Over the course of an hour or more (depending on the objects size and complexity) it will produce virtually anything we can conceptualize (or at least draw in 3D cad form) into a 3D physical model (no more x-acto blades, cardboard and Elmer’s glue – we have a lot of those types of models lining the walls of our office too). There are some basic limitations though; we are restricted to a build size of 5 inches x 5 inches x 5 inches – but, if we need something larger we just bond the pieces together (cool thing is you can bond it, sand it, paint it – so size should not necessarily be an issue). We’re still fine tuning so we have ended up with some interesting unintended objects.

Please stop by, share a story, draw a picture on our walls, let us scan you in 3D, and you can take home your very own miniature you!

K/O Office from the exterior – Stop by Soon!

Learning From Las Vegas – Fairs, Entertainment and Other Thoughts

Entertainment Architecture – “In Your Face Architecture”

We just finished exhibiting at the 2011 IAFE (International Association of Fairs and Exhibitions) Conference in Las Vegas. The conference was held in and around the Great Ballroom at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Convention and Trade Show held in Las Vegas each year, is the largest event serving fairs, shows,
exhibitions, and expositions. As a Fairground Architect and Fairground Master Planner we had the benefit of networking and learning from top industry folks and other fair professionals during the intensive four days of workshops, special seminars, round table discussions, and social events. The Trade Show allows us to showcase our firm while serving as a one-stop shop for all things fair. This year we got to show off our new designs for a Horse Barn, Equestrian Facility, Livestock Barn, Equine Arena, Exhibition Building, and a a few Fairground Master Plans.

As an architect of mass entertainment facilities there could not be a more perfect setting than to hold a show in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is everything entertainment design aspires to be – in your face, cutting edge, modern, and definitely Disneyesque. This recent visit allowed us to tour the recently completed (opened about a year ago) CityCenter. The below entry summarizes our thoughts.

The blog entry below uses several excerpts and references from the October 2010 article “What Happens in Vegas” by Paul Goldberger – originally published in the New Yorker

We all know that Las Vegas has been expanding since 2005, when Steve Wynn started the latest and largest building-boom Vegas has ever seen. High-rise, condo, hotel, mixed-use, adaptive-reuse and other projects in the Las Vegas area are in various stages of planning, development and construction.

Image of the CityCenter at night from the CityCenter.com website

For several years now, there has been talk about whether Las Vegas could handle what in any other city might be referred to as real architecture. In 2004, when the hotel company MGM Mirage (now known as MGM Resorts International) was looking for a way of filling in a sixty-six-acre site between two of its properties on the west side of the Strip (the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo), it hit on the idea of turning the plot into a showcase for modern architecture.

The Las Vegas Strip is constantly debuting new projects, boasting the latest in new urban architecture, design and technology. LEED certified “Green” buildings are making an entrance and many world-famous architects (starchitects) stepped up to the plate to create the critically acclaimed CityCenter, the biggest construction project in the history of Las Vegas. It has three hotels, two condominium towers, a shopping mall, a convention center, a couple of dozen restaurants, a private monorail, and a casino. There was to have been a fourth hotel, whose opening has been delayed indefinitely. But even without it the project contains nearly eighteen million square feet of space, the equivalent of roughly six Empire State Buildings. In an effort to counterpoint Las Vegas kitschiness the rolodex of who’s who in architecture was called into action. The result is a community of glittering starchitect ambition. There are major buildings by Daniel Libeskind, Rafael Viñoly, Helmut Jahn, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Norman Foster; and interiors by Peter Marino, Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis, Bentel and Bentel, and AvroKO (no relation to our firm). There are also prominent sculptures by Maya Lin, Nancy Rubins, and Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

If Las Vegas wants to be rescued from kitsch, that remains to be seen. CityCenter has struggled in the year since it opened. But it’s been clear for a while that Las Vegas has been running out of themes. The trouble is that its effects rely entirely on dazzlement, an over-the-top gigantism that gets old fast. As Las Vegas had grown—until the recession, its expansion had helped make Nevada the fastest-growing state in the nation—the city has started to feel a little uncomfortable about its reputation as a place where developers spend billions of dollars on funny buildings.

Whether or not the buildings themselves succeed in striking a blow against Vegas kitsch, CityCenter certainly fails to live up to the claim implicit in its name—the hope that it is going to give Las Vegas, the place of ultimate sprawl, a genuine urban focus. As urban planning, it doesn’t go much farther than Caesars Palace. CityCenter is laid out not for pedestrians but as a machine for moving vast numbers of cars efficiently. There are wide ramps coming off the Las Vegas Strip, auto turnarounds, and porte cochères—all good for traffic flow but hardly what you would call urban open space. There has been an attempt to tuck the site’s enormous garages out of sight—employee cars alone number in the thousands—but they are no less visible than at any number of the Strip’s other big hotels. Like its competitors, CityCenter has no real streets. You can glide over the project on a monorail, but there is no pleasant place to walk, except inside the buildings.

Even though there is more perceived density to CityCenter (there really is no more than anywhere else on the strip), and more sophistication to its architecture, it doesn’t feel urban. Its planners have tried to cram more square footage into a tighter space than anyone else has managed in Vegas, and that may make this place seem like an antidote to sprawl. But it still isn’t much of a center, or much of a city. Indeed, as you drive around the site, you suddenly wonder if CityCenter only appears to be different from the rest of the Strip. After all, cutting-edge contemporary architecture by the likes of Libeskind and Foster has been migrating steadily into the cultural mainstream for years. Now, perhaps, it has reached the point where it is familiar enough, and likable enough, to be just another style available for imitation, like the Pyramids or Renaissance Venice. CityCenter is really the Las Vegas you already know and love, but in modernist drag.