Enhancing the human experience
After four decades of award-winning architectural design and client-oriented service, KA, Inc. Architecture has achieved a national noteriety for its standard of excellence and for creative building solutions that fulfill its clients' goals. In its second generation, the Cleveland-based firm continues to uphold a national reputation and practice specializing in corporate and commercial real estate development in more than 41 states and Puerto Rico.
“The direction that KA has proceeded in has been one of total client process/procedure with the desire to be solution makers,” says president James Heller. “It's because of that foundation that the firm has achieved a project like Polaris Fashion Place.” The 1.8 million-sq.-ft. project opened in Columbus, Ohio in October 2001, just 388 days after its initial inception. Heller believes it could not have been accomplished in such a tight timeframe without the firm's incredible teamwork.
While the design process was on an accelerated time schedule, the firm made sure that no amenity would be compromised in order to meet the time and budgetary goals. In fact, the client's expectations were exceeded in terms of cost efficiency.
Polaris Fashion Center offers state of the art design, quality materials and customer-friendly amenities — some of the same characteristics one would find in an upscale hotel. “The project is designed utilizing a soft-curve shape and although it's a very large project, the architectural character produces a very intimate atmosphere,” says Heller.
Polaris' interior combines hardwood and carpeted floors, interspersed with traditional uses of polished stone and porcelain tile. Textures include soft leather and cloth furniture in a rich palette of colors. Other amenities include a concierge's desk, a bag/coat room, health spa, a porte cochere and valet parking. The center also brought four new anchors to the Columbus area: Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Kaufmann's and The Great Indoors.
Currently in the works is Parkway Place, an enclosed regional mall in Huntsville, Ala. scheduled to open next month with nearly 90 shops. This center replaces a former single-level mall with only two anchor department stores. “This is an extremely vibrant center offering a lot of retail as well as a two-level parking deck on a rather tight site,” says Heller. Bridges and walkways will connect the deck to the mall and department stores. The newly expanded space will includes a two-level Dillards and two-level Parisian while allowing for the possible creation of a third department store.
A large dome constructed above the eight food court tenants allows natural light to shine into the area. The impressive structure can be seen by patrons driving in from the elevated roadway system, or by simply accessing the upper level parking deck.
Another KA-designed center opening in October is the contemporary, one-story, 420,000-sq.-ft. Geneva Commons in Geneva, Ill. “The prairie-style vernacular achieves the aesthetic and contextual goals of the developer and the City of Geneva,” says Heller. In order to meet the city's design requirements, the firm employs many stone-like materials, masonry and vertical tower elements.
KA, Inc. Architecture also created a promenade consisting of plazas and green spaces surrounded by village buildings and a carillon tower — the focal point and gathering place of the project. Anchor tenants include Barnes & Noble and Galyans.