TWA Corporate Headquarters Building, Kansas City, MO
Award Type: Honor Award
When it was new, the sleek TWA building showed Kansas City what modernism was all about. Today, it shows how sensitive adaptive use can keep a building looking young well into its second half-century.
Fifty-two years after it opened, the TWA Corporate Headquarters, designed by Raymond Bayles Jr. and Morris Schechter, has undergone a renovation that helped an urban renaissance, bringing residents and investment back into downtown Kansas City. When it opened in 1956, the building featured a sleek design and innovative construction reflecting the essence of the modern movement as well as the exciting promise of air travel. Over the decades, the original design became obscured by incremental, poorly conceived changes and the building, in a terrible state of disrepair, and was slated for demolition.
Primary goals of the restoration, which was carried out with the help of state and federal tax credits, were preservation of the spirit of the building while improving the functionality of the original design and making the building more energy efficient. Architects identified and preserved historic elements, including the distinctive red and white exterior panels and a replica of the 35-foot TWA Moonliner rocket modeled after the TWA Moonliner from Disneyland that originally graced the roofline, and worked to implement practical improvements.