Archive for Service

Thanked for Just Being K/O!

Thank You Cards recently sent to K/O Architects!

Recently we hosted a couple of college students in our office for an informal interview of sorts. We were not the student’s only stop, they got a chance to visit with several other architectural firms in the Des Moines, Iowa area. The expectations at the outset were pretty simple they were not looking for a job – only information on firm dynamic, culture, make-up, etc.; basically a no pressure situation for both parties. The students were on a self-directed mission to find out what kind of employers were out there. We agreed to sit down and chat, and answer a few canned questions and a few not so. We enjoyed the conversation, showed them around our office, and gave them a glimpse as to the “ways” of our profession (at least the “ways” as we see it in our world).

Long story short, they must have appreciated the information and tour as much as we did the “show and tell” time – they sent us a couple of follow-up Thank You notes. Not the email type – the good old fashion note card type that comes in the mail with a stamp on it! It was refreshing to see that the art of hand writing a personal note has not been entirely lost. What an excellent idea on how to make a strong first impression! This is Marketing 101 stuff! The conversation was not memorable but it was pleasant. The hand written notecard was icing on the cake so to speak – unexpected and memorable!

Most people in marketing could take away a thing or two from these two college kids! Small things matter! Just when you think it might not be important. That is when it is the most important of all!

Both notes start out – Mr. Overton, and read as follows:

Thanks again for meeting with us this summer. I was surprised to see ISU feature a MakerBot in their Smithsonian display after seeing one in action at your office. Your laid back studio culture was a pleasure to observe in contrast to the other offices we had the chance to visit. Hope to see you up in the guest critic circuit in the near future.

Thank you so much for taking time to meet with us. I learned a great deal and appreciate all you helped us with. I loved K/O and the atmosphere there and hope to visit again someday. Thank you again for everything!

See what we mean – it’s flattering to get Thanked for being Yourself!

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!

Now is the Best Time to Build! – Audiocast

Now is a Great Time to get Construction Value!

Is now a good time to build?

If you’re currently considering it, there is no better time! Even though some 2011 economic indicators show the economy is slowly picking up, construction spending in the non residential sector is still going down. This lag in construction spending turnaround should be the proverbial music to the savvy owner’s ears. It is estimated that about two years of very high value and equally high competition remain as this gap closes and the economy continues to crawl back. It’s not as dire as it was a few years ago but, it’s not a rosy picture for construction folks yet. Construction competition is at an all time high and so are the choices of qualified firms. Now is the time to build!

click here for Audiocast

Says Michael Dell’Isola:

“Take your project to market and the market will respond. If you want to build now, bid now – because everyone in the construction industry is running lean – you’ll get the “A Team”, everyone’s “A Team. Not to mention at much less than the “A Team” price. The good news is, if you choose wisely, you’ll get the “A team”, tight bids, and ultimately a quality product. Act now and you’ll have nothing but good news coming your way.”

Michael D. Dell’Isola, PE, CVS, FRICS, Senior Vice President of Faithful+Gould, has a broad background specializing in cost management, value engineering, technical facilitation/partnering, life-cycle costing, and project management. He has over 30 years of experience in the field. Dell’Isola declares, “You don’t want contractors working for you that are in the process of going broke. Nobody is gaining under that.” Listen as Dell’Isola explores the impact of pricing in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.

To listen to the full interview with Michael Dell’Isola and host Ted Garrison click here (click here for Audiocast). The interview is titled “Pricing Projects in the Hyper-Competitive 2011 Market” and provided on the New Construction Strategies 3.0 website –

As Construction Lags behind the Economy – Now is the Best Time to Take Bids!

We Go To Great Lengths! … and Great Distances!

K/O Architects travel the Globe or at least North America

What do the following states have in common – Idaho, Utah, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Let’s narrow it down. Besides all having beautiful countryside and gorgeous scenery. Two of the States have incredible mountain top skiing, one of the states has 10,000 lakes, another has two NFL and MLB teams, and the yet another has the Iowa State Fair. Are you any closer to guessing the correct answer? If you guessed they are all states that K/O is currently working in – you would be correct! That’s right, our entertainment projects and fairground planning takes us all over North America. The dashed lines are starting to look like a cross Atlantic map from a travel sequence of an “Indiana Jones” movie. Help us color in our map and keep the dashed lines going! If you have a fairground or entertainment venue that is in need of repair, rework, or just in need of fresh ideas – give us a call. We’ll happily “go the distance” and help you solve your problems and put a smile on your face!

WOW! … Now That’s Service!

K/O Architects offers Great Service

K/O Architects offers Great Service

Just the other day we were passing through Oakely, Utah and needed to fill up the tank of our rental car.  Just after we pulled into the local Sinclair station I jumped out of the vehicle and took off the gas cap; a man’s voice said with a smile – “I can do that”.  He made his way over to the pump and proceeded to fill up my tank with gas, clean all of my windows (they were a little dirty, but not enough for me to feel that I needed to clean them at all), and asked me if I wanted the oil level or tire air pressure checked.  The eighty plus year old gentleman that did all this: called me sir, thanked me for my business, and told me to stop back if I was ever in the area again.  All this and the price per gallon was not any different than the last pay at the pump convience store we had passed 30 miles ago.  All I could think of was – WOW! … Now that’s SERVICE!  Honestly, take a look at the place I did not expect it – but, I can tell you this; I won’t think twice about driving out way out of my way to come back here!

It just got me thinking about what our society has come to expect.  Just forty or so years ago we would have been offended if this level of service was overlooked – this was the norm.  Now we pay at the pump and do it ourselves and don’t think twice when the clerk doesn’t make eye contact with us.
Just think of how many people we could make say “WOW!” – if we would all just provide service like we used to.

What do you consider full service?

Spencer Chapel – William Penn University

K/O Condition Survey of Spencer Chapel – William Penn University

From the Report by K/O

“The chapel is structurally in good condition; with some exterior masonry and most if not all of the exterior wood trim in need of a complete restoration. Given its history at William Penn University and the age of the structure, the building is an excellent candidate for restoration.

Therefore, the emphasis on the restoration process should be placed on compliance with current building codes with respect to life safety and accessibility. Concurrently an effort should be made to remediate the deficiencies in the exterior envelope to prevent future deterioration of the structure.

Finally to utilize the building to its full potential, the reconfiguration of the interior to meet current needs and life safety code standards must be completed, the electrical and plumbing systems should be upgraded, a modern climate control system (HVAC) inserted, and sprinkler system should be added. However, the feasibility of a restoration which encompasses all items contained in this report will have to be determined by a cost / benefit analysis.

In conclusion, the building is structurally sound and a viable candidate for restoration… The extent to which the building is restored will have a significant impact on its future life and use.”

Great Design is not without Great Effort!

K/O Architects - Detail and Design

Our office utilizes a studio design team approach where our architects and designers follow the project through all stages. At each stage of the project new layers of consulting services are added. Our objective in the development of design and delivery of technical expertise is to achieve a seamless and continuing level of service over the duration of the project, while providing a management structure that is understood by all parties Understanding how the work is evolving keeps all team members vigilant to examination of key design decisions affecting their area of expertise.

K/O Fairground Planners/Designers

K/O Fairground Planning and Design

We are pleased to present ourselves to you:

We are National Leaders in Fairground Design and Planning.  We are Fairground Architects, we specialize in fairground projects and have worked on over 200 commissions throughout the United States.  K/O’s extensive resume includes new fairground design, renovation, building design and fairground master planning.  Other services include: programming, infrastructure repair, new construction, site planning, building design, and construction coordination.

“Many of our clients hire us because we offer beginning to end services specializing in the planning, design, and construction of fairground facilities.”

We have worked on Livestock Barns, Horse Barns, Equestrian Barns, Horse Arenas, Fairground Design, Exhibition Buildings, Grandstands, Entertainment Facilities, and Fairground Master Plans.  There are many other entertainment and fairground specific buildings we have designed – give us a call or send us an email and we can fill you in.

Refined Process – Defined!

K/O Architects Design Process

Design is a delicate balance of form, function, and economics


Our office utilizes a studio approach where our architects and designers work together to follow a project through all stages of it’s life. We believe an architectural work must first fulfill the functional and economic requirements of it’s user. However, at the same time, it must evoke both a positive visual and emotional response from all who come in contact with it.

These qualities come from an expertise that only years of practice can bring. It involves a complete understanding of the site conditions, the architectural surroundings, material, detail, and the inner needs of the structure itself. This results in a product that is one part necessity, one part invention, with the balance fitting like an old pair of jeans.  The process should be a pleasure rather than a duty to participate in.

We also concern ourselves with the physical and psychological aspects of built space. Our work continually uncovers new ways of how our structures are understood, i.e. through a specific application and assembly of building parts. Combining and contrasting materials alters the perception of a space through the creation of a heightened awareness. The craft and care with which these items are assembled defines the character within our designs. This assembled kit of parts becomes crucial to the core architectural idea. We seek opportunities to reinterpret all elements within the built environment through a questioning and re-evaluation of visual relationships (form), physical adjacencies (function), and economic viability (dollars). All designs worth their salt should take this into account – Only extraordinary design seeks the best of all these!