While Kansas City isn't usually a place that comes to mind when you're talking about architectural highlights, we do have a few shining stars under our belt. We're Midwestern to the core and usually find ourselves riding design waves from either coast, except for in the case of the Colonnaded Walk-Up Flat. Check out the video tour after the jump!
Back at the turn of the century, roughly 1905 through 1930, Kansas City made it's mark on architecture in the Midwest. Now before the Mid-Century enthusiasts get bent out of shape, there were many architects that spent a great deal of time out this way (typically because they had family that lived here), but we're going back before all of that and pushing back to the days where apartment living was only for the extra poor and luxury condos were completely unheard of.
Kansas City is a city of parks and fountains and even in the early years, these were features that they tried very hard to incorporate into the everyday landscape and flow of the city so they were laced together seamlessly, kind of like the ultimate peanut butter and jelly sandwich (we're Midwestern, it's ok to compare food to city planning, or anything for that matter!).
Before automobiles were really a thing and most still relied on street cars, Kansas City had a great deal of business at its downtown core, but downtown living wasn't "a thing." That's when developer William Collins and architect J.W. McKecknie stepped in and the column porch sub-types or rather, the Colonnaded Walk-Up Flat was born.
They were aimed at giving those who lived downtown a large place in which to live with a substantial porch our included outdoor area to get away from the inside perimeter of their home. They were a great transitional style living for those who weren't ready to push to the suburbs, but weren't into home ownership either. They had marble stairs, butler's pantries, 2-3 bedrooms and rear entrance for maid service. Quite the change from the run down, bare bones poverty apartment living this city had seen prior.
Over at the KC Free Press, they've put together a video walk through tour of one of the remaining units (many of which are still in tact, with 500 across the metro) and share more with us on the history behind the Walk-Up flats that started it all for this part of the country.
(Images: KC Free Press)