Opening of the New Headquarters Building Reflects Firm's Growth, Culture and Passion for Design-Build
Opening of the New Headquarters Building Reflects Firm's Growth, Culture and Passion for Design-Build
Opening of the New Headquarters Building Reflects Firm's Growth, Culture and Passion for Design-Build
05/19/2016 2 minute read

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri (May 19, 2016) — Less than two years after breaking ground on a once-blighted, 17.5-acre site adjacent to its world headquarters, Burns & McDonnell is welcoming employee-owners, clients and friends into one of the most dramatic transformations in Kansas City. Now, serving as the anchor to the famed Ward Parkway corridor, the four-story, 310,000-square-foot facility is the third building on the firm’s 37-acre campus. Burns & McDonnell partnered with VanTrust Real Estate on the expansion project that increases the size of its world headquarters by 74 percent, accommodating 1,400 additional employee-owners.

“This is much more than a nice new building,” says Greg Graves, chairman and CEO, Burns & McDonnell. “It’s our identity. We intentionally designed it to mirror the values and principles of Burns & McDonnell. For example, the glass wall around the first floor symbolizes our transparency as a firm. The open design and unique gathering stations illustrate our passion for partnership and collaboration. And hand-selected amenities illustrate our commitment to our employee-owners and making Burns & McDonnell the best place to work.”

On-Site Amenities

The design team prioritized amenities that support a work-life balance. One of the most anticipated features is the MacKids Learning Academy. The 20,000-square-foot child care center has capacity for 144 preschool-aged children with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Other key amenities include: 

  • A full-service pharmacy
  • A reimagined and expanded health center
  • A new and enlarged credit union
  • A coffee bar with barista service
  • A 2,500-square-foot rooftop event space
  • A 250-seat auditorium with advanced audiovisual equipment 
  • 60 conference rooms and four large training rooms 
  • Adjustable desks allowing users to sit or stand, complete with pullout furniture for informal teaming sessions
  • Areas customized with whiteboards and expansive counter space circling each floor designed to inspire and accommodate varied styles of collaboration sessions


The project team infused sustainable design throughout the entire process. One of the most challenging, yet rewarding initiatives was rerouting a stream to mirror its original path for the first time in nearly a half-century. Crews constructed a bioretention and storage system along the drainage basin featuring plants and materials that absorb and naturally filter the runoff.

Additional sustainable elements include:

  • Reclaimed white marble, from the lobby of the synagogue that previously occupied the site, repurposed for use in conference rooms and public spaces
  • Hackberry wood, native to the Midwest, used for unique feature walls, veneers and ceiling panels
  • 100 percent LED lighting paired with daylight harvesting for optimal energy savings
  • More than 300 tons of recycled steel and metal
  • Reuse of 7,000 tons of processed concrete and masonry
  • Electric vehicle charging stations included in the new five-level parking garage

Design-Build Project Delivery

The expansion project spanned 17 months, required 345,000 man-hours for completion and had zero safety incidents. The project team credits the integrated design-build delivery method for staying within the $85 million budget. Uniquely Burns & McDonnell, integrated design-build is an approach in which one team of architects, engineers, constructors and other professionals work collaboratively to see that all project details are executed to perfection from conception to occupancy.

“Changes always happen during a project and typically those can mean added costs,” says Lori Top, the Burns & McDonnell architect who led the design team. “Having an agile design-build team allowed us to make better cost decisions early in the project. We maximized the money we saved and put it towards areas that provide the most value to employee-owners, such as the pharmacy and the barista coffee bar. That’s the beauty of integrated design-build.”

“The Burns & McDonnell expansion project has become a model of how to do commercial projects,” says David Harrison, president of VanTrust Real Estate that served as both the client and partner for the project. “We regularly toured clients and colleagues through the project during construction to have them experience the energy and efficiency of the job in action. We count on projects to exceed our expectations and arrive on budget, and this one hit the mark and then some.” 

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a company made up of more than 5,300 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is proud to be No. 16 on Fortune’s 2016 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. 

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