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  5. El Dorado
  6. 5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado

  • 01:00 - 27 January, 2011
5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado
5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado, © Mike Sinclair
© Mike Sinclair

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado © Mike Sinclair © Mike Sinclair © Mike Sinclair +27

  • Location

    510 Avenida Cesar E Chavez, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States
  • Architects

    el dorado inc
  • Project Team

    Doug Stockman, Dan Maginn, AIA LEED AP, Sean Slattery AIA LEED AP, Doug Hurt, Brady Neely
  • Contractor

    Schweiger Construction Company
  • Owner

    Marketview Properties, LLC
  • Area

    46150.0 sqm
  • Photographs

From the architect. As with many urban centers, Kansas City has a wonderful collection of turn of the century low to mid-rise buildings within the urban core. It is the re-use of older buildings that has promoted the ideal of loft living, having the city as a personal backyard. While many existing buildings still need to be renovated, 5 Delaware represents a new approach – a new, modern structure sensitively placed in one of the numerous empty lots downtown.

More photographs, drawings, and project description of 5 Delaware Lofts by el dorado following the break.

© Mike Sinclair
© Mike Sinclair

Several years ago city officials along with the local development community seized an opportunity to revitalize the urban core. Through local, state, and federal incentive programs local developers, architects, planners, and municipal officials embarked on a massive effort to re-build the heart of the city. The results have been impressive. Over $3 billion dollars of investment has provided the creation of 15,000 new residents, over 99,000 new office workers, and hundreds of retail establishments. While similar efforts are occurring in other mid-western cities, Kansas City has been especially fortunate to have numerous local developers committed to the residential component of this successful venture. This commitment stems from the desire to re-energize downtown. A strong residential community supports this goal.

© Mike Sinclair
© Mike Sinclair

The site for this project is situated in the historic River Market area of downtown, within a few hundred feet of the bluffs that overlook the Missouri River. It is a corner lot at the south end of the block, sharing magnificent urban views with a variety of cafés, businesses and lofts. It is the vibrancy of the surrounding River Market neighborhood that drew the client to develop a project in this area.

site plan
site plan

The clients wanted  a new structure that would provide a unique urban living experience. Aesthetically, they asked the architects to create a building for buyers desiring sophisticated architecture. They offered the shell and each tenant was given the opportunity to custom design each interior loft space. Requirements for the project included: covered and secured parking, maximizing the lot area, capturing the views, working within a construction budget of $68 / ft. and adhering to a 14 month design and construction timeline. Most importantly, el dorado's goal was to create a dialogue between existing fabric and modern infill.


El dorado embraced all the client’s desires and constraints by establishing an aggressive but methodical design process. This emphasized a collaborative relationship with not just the consultant team but also the client and the general contractor. The first step was to study the potential of the parking to residential unit ratio for the site. Fortunately, the site topography and lot dimensions worked well for an underground parking garage accessible from the alley on the east side and netting 23 parking stalls. The client determined that in order to create a higher end living environment, the project should comprise 13 units. Subsequent layout studies focused on how to arrange these units in a manner that adhered to the goals of the project. Site constraints determined that the common corridor should be placed on the north side and the units to be facing east, west, and south. The structural design quickly developed into a simple column grid that corresponded to the parking requirements below and then extruded upward through the third level. The fourth level was pulled back off the property line in order to create large outdoor rooftop patios.

fourth floor plan
fourth floor plan

The architects then explored multiple structural systems choosing cast-in-place concrete as the most suitable system. It was decided to utilize a two-way reinforced slab that would allow for flexible floor plates and a clean unobstructed ceiling surface. Concrete also permitted us to honestly express the material and the structural diagram on both the interior and the exterior of the building. This diagram was then articulated by utilizing recessed infill panels in a series of alternating opaque and transparent zones. These zones consisted of three materials intended to differentiate the common spaces and the residential spaces. 

© Mike Sinclair
© Mike Sinclair

The first was a corrugated metal siding on the north, then wrapping around to the east and west elevations. The siding was also used to articulate the common corridors on the north elevation and provided us with an economical sheathing system. The second material was an aluminum storefront glazing system incorporating sliding operable doors and windows. These windows were used to express the structural diagram and provide each unit with optimal views of the city, creating an abundance of natural light. The third material was a natural stained Mangaris wood siding on the south of the building, wrapping the east and west elevations. This wood was used to create a warm contrast to the concrete, aluminum, and metal siding. All three materials converge on the east and west elevations creating a recessed pedestrian entry on west, vehicular entry on east, and porches above each entry. As a finishing touch, el dorado fabricated and installed the guardrails, roof deck dividers, and entry awning themselves.

© Mike Sinclair
© Mike Sinclair

The surrounding neighborhood is comprised of brick paved sidewalks and tree grates placed every thirty feet. When it came time to integrate the sidewalk and landscaping design the architects followed a similar logic to the building. El dorado decided to maintain brick as the paving for the sidewalk for continuity but used the landscaping as an opportunity to accentuate components of the building design. On the west end we created two planting areas flanking the entry vestibule. The northern planting area was pulled out to the street and we used a combination of three intimately scaled red and white bud trees. South of the entry we kept the landscaping tight to the building and used only indigenous prairie grasses and junipers. The south side of the building demanded a slightly different approach. In order to soften the texture of the foundation wall we inset portions of the wall and planted a continuous strip of densely packed with Virginia Creeper vines. Finally, el dorado placed columnar maple trees in front of the wood panels so as to not compromise the views from within the unit.

© Mike Sinclair
© Mike Sinclair
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado" 27 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


DoorandWindowParts · January 31, 2012

Hometown pride: #architecture in downtown KC seeks to help revitalize the urban core. via @archdaily

nickbegoode · March 17, 2011

Very elegant, simple diagram, but... oh the thermal bridging! This thing must be an energy hog! Especially in KC where the winters are freezing and the summers are boiling. This isn't the 60's anymore - envelope designs need to get a bit more sophisticated.

cathy biondo · February 05, 2011

Good work gents. Simple, clear diagram-elegant use of modest materials. Go cats!

giordano. delazeri · February 03, 2011

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado | ArchDaily via @archdaily

RENarch · January 29, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: 5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado #architecture

Nicholas Patten · January 28, 2011

5 Delaware Lofts.

Robin · January 28, 2011

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado via #googlereader

Orange Innovation · January 28, 2011

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado | ArchDaily: This emphasized a collaborative relationship with not just the consult...

DEZIGN · January 28, 2011

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado: © Mike SinclairAs with many urban centers, Kansas City has a wonderful collection ...

ArchitecturePassion · January 28, 2011

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado: © Mike SinclairAs with many urban centers, Kansas City has a wonderful colle...

Baker · January 27, 2011

$68 per square foot construction cost! Please tell me how that is possible, especially with concrete construction. Great project, but the stated cost just doesn't seem possible to me.

daqb design · January 27, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: 5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado #architecture

Architecture+Molding · January 27, 2011

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado: As with many urban centers, Kansas City has a wonderful collection of turn of the ...

Lehner Designs · January 27, 2011

Nice clean design. RT @ArchDaily: 5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado #architecture #in

Hair Eguiluz Ricalde · January 27, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: 5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado #architecture

Barry Maguire · January 27, 2011

5 Delaware Lofts / el dorado via ArchDaily - © Mike Sinclair As with many urban centers, Kansas City ...

majchers · January 27, 2011

Very interesting project. Simple and neat. Neat - except for the concrete work. I love exposed concrete but not one left messy and sloppy.


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© Mike Sinclair

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