At the very beginning of his career, our founder Gerry Rauenhorst saw firsthand the disconnects and tension between independently-hired architects and contractors. He was far ahead of his time in the 1960s when he spearheaded the approach we use today —
Opus DB3™. With
project managers and field leaders operating as one team, we work collaboratively from project to project.
We're driven to deliver a single objective – yours. We align around your goals to meet aggressive schedules and unique needs without shortcutting or compromising the full design process.
We begin every project the same way: listening to fully understand your business's needs, objectives and operations and that of the community and municipality. Throughout the project, we collaborate as one in-house team with you, openly communicate and guide you through the project.
See how working as one team with one objective is delivering results on the Cherne Industries HQ and Proxi – Lawrence Student Living.
Cherne Industries HQ at Brickyard Exchange
“Certainty of outcome won the day," said
Joe Mahoney, Senior Manager of Real Estate Development. “It was the early efforts of the fully-integrated team to understand the needs of Cherne and provide direction and solutions. While the economic environment created challenges to get the project in the ground, having an integrated partner allowed the project to move forward."
Bringing the project together showcased our team's unique capabilities. Starting at the very beginning, our real estate developers, project managers and designers listened carefully to thoroughly understand the needs of the client. Our project managers and developers were able to work closely to align the entitlements, design and construction schedule during a very fluid and continuously-evolving environment.
“We started with a limited amount of information and a visit to their existing site, and we quickly provided a cost proposal," said Scott Shifflett, Director of Project Management. “As the deal progressed and the project came together, that has proven to be very accurate."
To suit their operations and business goals, Cherne had some unique requirements, including a 900 megawatt solar array, bridge cranes, chemical storage, research and development labs and production equipment. “We asked the right questions and listened to ensure that we understood Cherne the way they understand their business," Scott continued. “With that baseline knowledge we were able to propose successful solutions."
Mindy Hart, Project Architect, agrees, adding, “Working with Cherne and listening to them as a team, we came to understand their needs for the building and their future business and have been able to come up with solutions that meet these needs within the parameters of their budget and schedule."
The solar array on the roof required coordination with the real estate team because of impacts to the lease and the architects, engineers and project managers to coordinate the structural, mechanical, electrical and roofing systems to make that possible. Cherne also has a lot of manufacturing equipment (almost 800 pieces) that had very specific requirements for location, power, water and air. “Usually as the architect, I would not incorporate every single piece of equipment into the plans," Mindy said. “But we determined that it would be easier and most efficient to lay them out and have data for all the requirements in our construction drawings to communicate the most accurate info to subcontractors, further ensuring the success of the project."
Then there are items outside the scope of the contract for this project, such as furniture and fixtures, interior branding, audiovisual coordination and move in of production equipment. We worked to understand these to help make sure that everything works smoothly with the project elements that are within the scope.
Proxi – Lawrence Student Living
Who the client is and who will use the building is important to how we listen and deliver the project. Proxi – Lawrence, a student living development near the University of Kansas in Lawrence, is a great example of this. Students will live in the development, but with the addition of on-site amenities, the project has large impacts on the community as well.
“Proxi is adjacent to a high-traffic bike and walking trail," said Yianni Vrentas, Real Estate Representative. “During the public hearings, many local bike enthusiasts expressed their desire for our property to somehow integrate with that trail. That inspired Gary Schuberth, Vice President of Architecture, to create a bike oasis on the perimeter of our property that provides our residents and the community with a place to stop, fill up a water bottle, add air to their bike tires or just sit and take a break. We are proud of the finished product and are confident the community will use and enjoy this feature."
The City of Lawrence had adopted a Smart Code that had yet to be used. Our in-house designers, project managers and real estate developers worked hand-in-glove with city officials to figure out the best way to implement the code to benefit the city and greater community. It resulted in a very public process that the community appreciated, a unique design with many sustainable aspects and a cost that made the project feasible. Had our team not been fully-integrated, this process would have taken much longer and perhaps may not have been accomplished at all due to the short fuse on student living projects needing to be complete by the beginning of school.
Our in-house, multidisciplinary experts operate without geographical boundaries. We put the most ideal team together to execute a project. To ensure a successful outcome for Proxi, we combined our national student living developers' knowledge and skills with the market intelligence and relationships of our local Kansas City office. Ben Angelo and Anthony Davidson, our student living developers, are based in Chicago; Noah Brennecke, Senior Project Manager, came from Des Moines; and the project began with a Minneapolis-based Superintendent.
Student living developments have strict timelines to align with the start of the fall semester to allow students to move in and begin class. The COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for everything, including this project specifically. The project managers and field construction leaders communicated openly and clearly about all issues with our developers and had multiple solutions prepared for any issue they might have faced.
Managing the entire process makes us uber-efficient, leading to faster completions and reduced costs without sacrificing quality. We are one team with one objective: building for you. Learn more about our fully-integrated multidisciplinary expertise.