Project DescriptionRonald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City serves a vital function in our community by creating a caring and uplifting environment for thousands of families every year who feel the burden of childhood illness. HMN Architects is proud to have teamed with RMHCKC in the design of the newly opened Wylie House, named in honor of Jack and Glenna Wylie whose generous gift helped make the house possible. Wylie House joins Cherry Street House, Longfellow House and the Children's Mercy Family Room in providing a "home away from home" for families of children who are undergoing vital medical care.
Both outside and inside the new Wylie House has been designed to be a place of warmth and brightness that adds to the fabric of the local neighborhood. The exterior of the building (see photo) is anchored by natural stone around the base and a wrap-around covered porch that reflect the historical residential architecture of the area. This continues with the gabled roof lines and tapered porch columns which evoke a simplified, modern arts-and-craft style of architecture. The cool monotone palette of the two textures of durable fiber cement siding and both metal and shingle roofs give the house a bright backdrop while the warm stained concrete of the porch and the blue front doors add pops of color.
Inside, Wylie house consists of four levels and nearly 22,000 SF of interior space, total. The main foyer through which families enter and are checked-in is highlighted by a four-story open stained wood staircase through which pierces the giant, LED-lit stalks of a donor art sculpture (see photo) that runs from the basement of the house to the roof, designed by local artist Chris Duh. This is but one of many artistic touches throughout the facility from talented designers who collaborated throughout the project with HMN and RMHCKC, including Jennifer Bertrand, who worked with HMN throughout the process to create the inspirational environment inside, Donald "Scribe" Ross who created artwork at the check-in area and inside the elevator and BSA LifeStructures who provided continual collaborative input as the owner's representative.
The kitchen (see photo) is large and open to facilitate the food and meal preparation that is provided for families on a daily basis by volunteers. Coffered ceilings and archways highlight the dining area which provides a variety of seating options for families and guests while an adjacent play area with a LEGO wall and suspended Adirondack swing chair (see photo) is within easy view for parents. At the front of the house the hearth room's large windows and stone fireplace provide a bright and comfortable respite space while the nearby library offers a more sequestered place to plug in a laptop or read a book. A "grab-and-go" coffee station option is also available off the main foyer.
The basement of the facility features a media room for movie nights that includes a lighted "LOVE" marquee sign and movie theater-style curtains at the entry. Wood doors salvaged from the original buildings on the lot are re-purposed on sliding door hardware and separate the media room from the kids play area. This play area highlights the interactivity of the house, from a stage area and projection theater to an oversized rocket ship brimming with visual and audio effects, enticing children to put their imagination to use.