In Kansas City, Missouri, One Park Place building, formerly known as the BMA Tower, has been a landmark since Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed it in 1961. Originally office headquarters, the converted luxury condominium building rises 19 stories above the heart of downtown and is a visual milestone from nearly anywhere in the city. Its trademark exterior is devoid of ornamental décor, relying on white cladding and black glazing to create a minimalist Miesian aesthetic that has been celebrated in numerous building awards and a special exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2002, the building was entered into the United States National Register of Historic Places.
For the iconic building to maintain its dramatic presence in the Kansas City skyline for the greater half of the last century and receive its designation as a historic place, it was critical that the building’s understated exterior remain in top condition. This proved challenging in 1985, when the building’s original white marble cladding began to warp from the corners, causing several panels to fall from the building.
To preserve the building’s famed Modernist appearance, Black & Veatch, an engineering, procurement and construction firm out of Overland Park, Kansas, was tasked with replacing the dilapidated marble with an aesthetically similar, yet structurally improved cladding material. The firm selected white Neopariés® crystallized glass ceramic panels from Technical Glass Products (TGP).
Neopariés crystallized glass ceramic panels have a lower thermal expansion rate, meet stricter engineering guidelines and are lighter and stronger than natural stone, making them an ideal cladding material for a building subject to Kansas City’s extreme temperature changes and harsh weather conditions. Aesthetically, the crystallized ceramic panels have a bright, smooth appearance that closely resembles One Park Place’s original marble.
As an added benefit, Neopariés is virtually maintenance free, with high resistance to staining, pollution and graffiti. “I periodically have a crew wash as much of the Neopariés as they can without hanging over the side of the building,” said Mike Gunter, facilities manager, in an earlier company project write-up. “The only other maintenance required is the monitoring of the caulking.”
Today, after more than 25 years, Neopariés crystallized glass ceramic panels are still keeping the exterior of Kansas City’s landmark One Park Place in top form for city residents.
Neopariés is an ideal alternative to stone for interior and exterior walls, interior floors, counters and table tops. It is available in large, flat or curved panels, and may be used in thinner and lighter configurations than marble or granite. When combined with the Neopariés’ stainless steel anchoring system, the crystallized glass ceramic panels can help design teams create applications with enduring beauty.
Project: One Park Place
Location: Kansas City, MO
Architect: Skidmore, Owings + Merrill (original), Black & Veatch (retrofit)
Product: Neopariés® crystallized glass ceramic panels