KCAI Vanderslice Hall

If the walls of historic Vanderslice Hall could talk, they would tell the stories of famous students who created, designed and inspired at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI). They would speak of the lavish Beaux Arts Ball in the 1930s, featured in LIFE Magazine, elephant rides on the lawn for Morgan Day in 1970, and painting sessions with faculty member, painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton....click to view full article from KC Studio

Citizens of the World Charter School is open!

The beginning of the school year is always full of excitement! This semester GastingerWalker& recently completed Citizens of the World Charter School. Citizens of the World Charter School has locations in New York and Los Angeles and recently opened their first campus in Kansas City on August 15th. The campus, housing grades K-2, is located at 3435 Broadway in a mid-century modern architectural gem in the heart of Midtown. 

GastingerWalker& thrives on creating state-of-the-art learning environments that are stimulating and comfortable for both students and faculty. Congrats to the students starting their fall semesters! Best wishes for a great first year in the new facilities.

Village Church Child and Family Development Center


This development center is the second phase of construction at the Meneilly Center Campus. The building completes a master plan originally approved by Overland Park Planning in 2005. The new building uses the same exterior materials and scale of the Tillotson building to provide a continuity, but has been configured differently to better reflect the different use and requirements of the Children and Family Development Center. This portion of the site slopes three feet within the length of the building.  In order to provide ground level access from classrooms and all major use areas, the building steps gradually down to the west with 8” level changes and intermittent sloping circulation areas. The multi-use building will provide day care classroom and support space for 132 students. The day care portion of the building includes a storm hardened safe room space and food preparation and dining areas. A flexible 250 person multipurpose use space with associated meeting, conference, and storage areas is included as well.

We want the building to efficiently provide all the functional requirements of the staff and committee, In addition, we want it to be a place the children enjoy and are excited to come to each day. We want the Architecture to be bright and cheerful and to supplement the smiles and positive attitudes of the staff.  Arrival starts at a broad entry canopy with tree like columns, once inside the building, a custom door provides a “child’s” entrance to the classroom area that is too small for adults to go through.  The classrooms are joined with a playful multilevel interior circulation space that is flooded with daylight from south facing roof monitors above. Throughout this space there are little surprises, such as windows in a variety of shapes and sizes to provide views into the classrooms at child height. There are color coded floor areas with lower scaled ceilings at the classroom entries. The classroom ceilings all slope up to the exterior walls providing a light and more spacious feeling to the classroom. The windows of the classrooms have tinted glass panels that reinforce the entry and room accent colors.

A favorite area of students and staff will certainly be the nature explore outdoor classroom/play area. The design incorporates a nature centered play and education concept. This portion of the project will be installed once the existing building is removed.

The building is designed to be a good steward in the use of materials and resources.  The building is low and compact allowing a central utility core to most efficiently supply heating and cooling.  Multiple equipment zones allow utility savings for those areas of the building when not in use.  Light monitors above the central circulation space provide daylight deep into the building and will often preclude the use of artificial light there altogether. The lighting throughout is high efficiency LED.  The classrooms have a sophisticated control system that provides daylight harvesting and programmable dimming options. Parking lot lighting is LED as well.  The building exterior is very well insulated and has been constructed with care to eliminate cracks and unwanted infiltration. Deep roof overhangs to the south allow the sun into the classrooms in the winter months if desired, but keep the walls in shade during the heat of summer.  There are few glazed openings on the east and no openings for the harsh west sun. Like the Tillotson building, this building will receive an initial 12 KW photovoltaic electric rooftop installation, with equipment sized to add many times that capacity in the future. Additionally, the rooftop will provide an active 120 gallon solar hot water heating installation. All building roof water is diverted to a rain garden collection and percolation area that serves as a buffer and landscape area between the building and 99th street to the north.  An electric vehicle charging station will be provided on site as well.


- Steve McGuire

New Business School at the University of Kansas Opens


This month, the University of Kansas opened the doors of its new, “future ready” business school, Capitol Federal Hall.

The new facility provides state-of-the-art learning environments for graduate and professional students – creating an innovative space different than any other building on campus. By rethinking the role of the university in a student’s professional development and encouraging interdepartmental networking, students are introduced to countless opportunities on a daily basis.

GastingerWalker& worked collaboratively with Gensler, the Design Architect on the project, from the very beginning through building completion. “The design concepts were always first and foremost in our overall construction documentation,” said Kevin Harden, AIA, Managing Partner at GastingerWalker&. “The budget was tight and the schedule a challenge. We creatively figured out ways to get more with less money from the design of the building skin to the right sizing of the corridors and classrooms. There was not a square foot in excess in the overall design."

The building features 166,500 square feet of cutting-edge technology, 21 classrooms, a 350-seat auditorium, and over 25 different collaborative spaces. Flexible rooms, moveable furniture and a four-story central atrium allow for teachers and students to interact in a new manner, encouraging connection and potential for ideas. The key focus of this non-traditional layout is on innovation and collaborative spaces.

Openness, natural light, changing views, and accessibility were integral to the design of this building, as well as opportunities for serendipitous encounters. “We are already seeing the success in attracting students to the business school from conversations with individuals who now plan on taking business classes as well as others who want to return for their Masters degree to be in this building," said Dan Nenonen, AIA, Partner at GastingerWalker&.


This significant, student-oriented design creates a unique culture and inspires an entrepreneurial spirit. Capitol Federal Hall accommodates a number of emerging initiatives that will carry the reputation of the institution into the coming century. 

-Kyle Waggoner

Citizens of the World Coming to Kansas City


We are very excited to be working with Citizens of the World Charter School on their first campus in Kansas City! CWC is an amazing organization with charter schools based in Los Angeles and New York City and now KC is lucky enough to have its first Midwest location. The campus, housing grades K-2, is located at 3435 Broadway in a mid-century modern architectural gem in the heart of Midtown.

Our design for the renovation creates a porous floor plan allowing daylight and views to filter through all areas of the schools. Color and texture identify the main gathering spaces throughout the building to create calm, immersive environments for focused interaction. Our design approach is resourceful and environmentally responsive by re-purposing the existing lighting, interior glass walls and many finishes.


We can’t wait to see the results and continue our partnership with CWC on their next campus! Check out their website here to learn more:www.citizensoftheworld.org

Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing


Among the many unique pieces of art on display at Capitol Federal Hall is Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing 519”. Almost all of the artwork in the building has a distinct connection to the state of Kansas and the University of Kansas. 

Solomon "Sol" LeWitt (September 9, 1928 – April 8, 2007) was an American artist linked to various movements, including Conceptual art and Minimalism.
LeWitt came to fame in the late 1960s with his wall drawings and "structures" (a term he preferred instead of "sculptures") but was prolific in a wide range of media including drawing, printmaking, photography, and painting. He has been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world since 1965.* -  Wikipedia



Starlight Education Pavilion - Ribbon Cutting


We celebrated the opening of the new Education Pavilion at Starlight Theatre. The design encloses the once open-air director’s pavilion to create a new multi-purpose space capable of supporting Starlight Theatre’s education department.

The original open-air Director’s Pavilion constructed in the 1950’s had been used for rehearsals up until the new administration building opened in 2007.

This project transformed the existing structure and enclosed the building to create a new multi-purpose space capable of supporting Starlight Theatre’s education department and accessory backstage space during concerts.

The space features a large projection screen, integrated sound system, mirrored wall, original hardwood floors and a small kitchen.


Cottey College Ribbon Cutting

GastingerWalker& had a great weekend celebrating the completion of the Judy and Glenn Rogers Fine Arts Building at Cottey College. Cottey College, located in Nevada, Missouri is an independent, Liberal Arts and Sciences College for women. Great events throughout the weekend. @CotteyCollege

A new fine arts building expands the creative space for the dance, music and art departments at this all-women school in rural Missouri. The expansion honors the traditional framework of the campus with the integration of existing Neale Hall. An open courtyard in front pays tribute to it’s donors in a special recognition plaza.

The new art building and improved academic facilities complete part of the puzzle as the school transitions from a two- to a four-year institution.

The three story building will reduce energy costs for the school by incorporating solar power generation, energy-efficient design, and a large communicating atrium which will allow for an abundance of natural sunlight.

The enclosed bridge creates a convenient indoor link between the new art building and the administration building.

Cottey College, located in Nevada, Missouri is an independent, liberal arts and sciences college for women. It was founded by Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard in 1884, and is currently owned and supported by the P.E.O.