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SFS Architecture Profiled in KMBZ Companies on the Move Series

SFS Partners Kerry Newman and Marsha Hoffman share SFS Architecture’s approach to creating high impact architecture as part of KMBZ Companies on the Move Series. 

Designing for high community impact starts with cooperation between the business and public sectors. As a full service architectural interior design and planning firm focused on civic projects for 43 years, Kansas City based SFS Architecture is involved in projects that benefit the community. “We design buildings and spaces as part of a larger context not just the building itself but how it impacts the neighborhood and community,” Principal Kerry Newman told KMBZ.

From municipal city halls and public safety buildings to community centers, libraries, federal and national parks systems, the firm maintains a sharp focus on design excellence, efficiency, sustainability and high return on investment. SFS Architecture Principal Marsha Hoffman points to a major renovation project currently under construction at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center. It is slated to open in the Spring of 2017 and will include an indoor theater to use during winter months, a season conspicuously absent of performances. Another major component of the project is a new home for Johnson County Museum in Shawnee, Kansas.

Newman discusses the 9/11 Memorial at the Overland Park Fire Training Center, underscoring that it was a very important project for SFS Architecture. “We felt a great sense of responsibility to develop and design a great memorial,” he said. It continues to be very rewarding for the firm as every year a ceremony is held on 9/11.

One of the keys to the success of the 9/11 Memorial and other civic projects like it, is that the firm comes to the planning table with an extremely inclusive design process. Where there are multiple stakeholders involved, it is crucial to effectively incorporate multiple perspectives and goals into a cohesive vision. SFS Architecture has developed methodologies and tools for helping work through that process and reaching consensus.

“We work hard to truly understand each stakeholder’s perspective and develop solutions to address them in interactive workshops so we’re not off working by ourselves in a vacuum,” Newman told KMBZ.

Touching on its work in the academic sector, Hoffman said aging infrastructure is a “huge issue” for all major universities and higher education facilities. Architecture and design has evolved around technology and the needs of millennial students in order to create “a dynamic learning environment that supports all the different ways they want to study.” SFS Architecture recently completed Ottawa University’s student commons and library providing “a diverse space so that each student can decide where and how they want to work and feel sense of ownership and pride in their facility,” she said.

Newman adds that the strategic priority for every project his award winning architectural firm tackles is “not just initial design but long term functionality and operations.” These projects are viewed as long term assets in the community so SFS Architecture considers maintenance, energy efficiency, sustainable design and scalability to be more flexible and responsive to changing needs while planning for growth.

It’s all about designing for the long haul. “In early planning phase we consider future additions, especially how each facility could be logically developed whether at that point or long term and then evaluating everything that goes into the facility from a sustainability standpoint including how long materials will last so it doesn’t need constant maintenance or improvements” said Hoffman.

To listen:  SFS Profile on KMBZ


Andrew Ellenberg, KMBZ Move Series | April 23, 2016