Kansas City is situated in the middle of the United states, accommodating more than 240 neighborhoods, which makes it the largest city in Missouri by population and area. Besides, it is famous for its Jazz heritage, BBQ, Fountains, sunflowers, and wheat agriculture, which makes this place rich in community spirit and natural landscapes along with the hybrid city life. Nevertheless, Kansas is a city that narrates plenty of stories, as it was a place where several historical events happened. As a result, architecture in Kansas City is distinguished by various architectural styles starting from Art Deco to contemporary architecture.
Therefore, here are 15 unique buildings in Kansas that every architect must see.
1. National World War Museum and Memorial | Architecture In Kansas City
The museum drives people to understand, remember and interpret the great war and its enduring impact on the world, narrating stories and sharing significant events with its visitors. The museum is a leading institution as it contains a distinctive collection of artifacts and rare documents from the World War period, making it the second oldest museum that preserves objects. It consists of the external building and the memorial named Liberty Tower. Classical Egyptian Revival Architecture inspired their design by using symbols and imagery from Ancient Pharaonic Culture. For the Liberty tower, four sculptures are carved on it, each representing virtue and holding a sword as the Guards of Peace.
2. The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
The Atkins Museum is near the Country Club Plaza, which makes it a social hub for people who love to appreciate art and history. The American architect, Steven Holl won the competition to design the new extension. The extension consists of five interconnected masses, opposing the design of the old building, bringing people from one space to another, winding through the sculpture park with a unique experience for the visitors. He decided to use glass lenses to implement different qualities of light in diverse spaces. Moreover, the museum accommodates art from various periods, including impressionist and post-impressionist arts. It hosts Egyptian galleries and a notable collection of photography.
3. Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park | Architecture In Kansas City
It is a sculpture park where you can sit, walk or enjoy a picnic. In 1986, the Hall Family Foundation acquired the artist Henry Moore to sculpt 57 artworks to be displayed in the garden. The park has a significant display of notable sculptures, which makes it the Oasis of the city. People can enjoy the mesmerizing landscape and urban design accompanied by the presence of art, history, and architecture.
4. Country Club Plaza
The country club plaza is a shopping center founded in 1923. It was the first suburban shopping center designed to welcome visitors arriving by automobile. However, it is unlike modern shopping malls with sprawling parking lots. All parking areas are either concealed underground, hidden behind the buildings, or have a reserved space on their rooftops. The Plaza was designed by J.C. Nichols, reviving style echoing the architecture of civil Spain. In 1930, it was the first time they installed lights for Christmas in the Plaza, and the lights increase every year, celebrating the Official Lighting Ceremony in Kansas.
5. Arrowhead Stadium | Architecture In Kansas City
Kivett and Myers designed the stadium to host 76,416 people during the national football league, making it the sixth largest in the USA. The stadium is a part of a sports complex that accommodates baseball and football side by side. The design was one of its kind at that time with its open-air configuration. Nevertheless, Arrowhead will be one of the stadiums that host the 2026 FIFA World Cup with some renovations.
6. Union Station
One of the hidden gems in Kansas City is Union Station. It is a one of a kind structure that opened during World War I, and now it is visited by 2 million people yearly. The place is considered a cultural hub, not just a waiting area or a transitional space. Yet, it has a coffee shop, restaurants, and a science center. In addition, it has model train exhibits, a planetarium, an escape room, a theater, a post office, and a piano, where people can spend the entire day enjoying different activities in one place.
7. Federal Reserve Bank/Money Museum
You cannot be in Kansas City and not visit such a great icon. It is an interactive museum that teaches visitors everything about the Federal Reserve System and the American Financial System. You can hold gold and go home with a bag of shredded money. The Money Museum also contains the Harry S. Truman coin collection.
8. Monument Rock/ Chalk Pyramids | Architecture In Kansas City
Another hidden gem in Kansas City is where you can explore and appreciate the beauty of different landscapes and nature. The Chalk Pyramids are 80 million years old as the land was the sea bed, and the rocks were caves under the Western Interior Seaway. The place hosts shells and unique fossils 70 ft. high. They take unique shapes like Charlie the dog and the eye of the needle.
It is a small-size city by Swedish immigrants in the late 19th century, which is why it is called little Sweden. Lindsborg is identified by its unique urban nature that is not similar to the rest of Kansas’s neighborhoods/ districts. The place celebrates the local Swedish tradition, such as the Spence Cummings Fest. It is a historical attraction that makes the visitors travel through time and place just by strolling among its streets.
10. Cosmo sphere | Architecture In Kansas City
For anyone interested in astrology and technology, this place is heaven. It is an outdoor space museum and STEM education center. Cosmo sphere is the second largest space museum with a digital dome theatre viewing films that explore space on a two-story dome screen. The place also hosts a live performance in Dr. Godard’s lab. Nevertheless, it displays Russian and American space-related aircraft.
11. Eisenhower Presidential Library
It is the presidential library and museum dedicated to Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th U.S president, located in Abilene, Kansas, the president’s hometown. The library holds his legacy and cultural and military artifacts from his era. The museum also contains an extensive collection of western art as he was interested in it.
12. Kauffman Center
Kauffman center is one of the most significant buildings in Kansas, catching the eye of passers. The building is home to different kinds of art, performances, and music. It consists of two symmetrical half spheres which host two independent performance venues. The slanted roofs serve as acoustical barriers, stopping the city noise from leaking into the performance halls. The building performs perfect acoustics and optimal sightlines.
13. Kansas State Capitol, Topeka | Architecture In Kansas City
Topeka adopts the French renaissance style, which adds a unique quality to the glorious skyline of Kansas. Moreover, it witnessed many major battles during the civil rights era in 1954. The dome is a significant feature of Topeka architecture as it is 93 meters high and 15 meters in diameter. Visitors get the opportunity to go up to the top of the dome by climbing 296 steps.
14. Nerman Museum Canopy Artwork
The museum displays many of the region’s most extensive contemporary arts. In addition, it is considered one of the top 10 college campuses for public art in America. Minimal and modern design distinguishes the form and facade, complementing the artwork exhibited inside, as the building itself is an exhibit by itself. The light installation is a permanent artwork underneath the northeast entrance by Kyu Sung Woo as an animated display of LED lights.
15. Independence Temple | Architecture In Kansas City
The Independence Temple activates the skyline of Kansas with its spiral nautilus shell shape that motivated the discovery of Fibonacci numbers. The facility exhibits art that represents modern and religious art from all over the world. It is a cultural hub and community spot where people gather and share their thoughts and beliefs.
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