2022 Nichols Student Prize Winners

Tianna Morton wins First Prize in the 2022 Nichols Student Prize competition for Urban Planning + Design students.

The Garden District
The Garden District, FIRST PRIZE

Tianna Morton’s project reimagined the area adjacent to Main and Linwood as “The Garden District.” Her project starts with a examination of whether big-box retail will still be viable in the future. Taking the site of Midtown Marketplace, she redevelops Linwood Boulevard as the site for apartments with an adjacent community of a mix of housing types. The Garden District will expand housing opportunity in Kansas City while providing a new park.

Two other projects received prizes in the competition. Jazmin Bustos received a Second Prize for her project Imagine the Possibilities. The jury was impressed with the attention to community institutions as part of her program for the site at Main and Linwood.

Imagine the Possibilities
Jazmin Bustos, Second Prize

Jazmin Bustos’ project included a child care facility, a library, and a community center with the aim of providing the services that could bring families back into this portion of Midtown Kansas City. Finally, the jury awarded a Second Prize to Luke Bertram’s project Baltimore Square.

Baltimore Square
Luke Bertram, Second Prize

Baltimore Square proposes the extension of Baltimore Avenue north across Linwood Boulevard up to 31st Street. Around the area of 32nd Street, Baltimore Avenue would intersect a public square providing a quiet respite from the bustle of Main St, Linwood Boulevard and 31st Street. The jury thought this design reflected an appealing sense of urbanism.

The Nichols Student Prize is awarded to students in competing to develop innovative urban designs and developments as a part of their education in UMKC Urban Planning + Design program. Support for the Nichols Student prize has been generously endowed by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation.

2019 Nichols Prize Winners Announced


Thomas Meyer’s project “Residents and Rain Gardens” won First Place in the 2019 Nichols Prize for Urban Planning + Design. This project proposed a combination of a dense new urban neighborhood along Troost Avenue from 64rd Street to 65th Street as well as an additional urban park on the east side of the site. Several videos show his plans for the Landing Site through his digital model: https://youtu.be/a2_lBxcIHjk, https://youtu.be/7CCG4J86ZyM


Jared Islas was awarded Second Place in the 2019 Nichols Prize Competition for his project “The Promenade.”

Bradley Hocevar won Honorable Mention for his project “Market Square at The Landing.”


Ryan Deeken was also given Honorable Mention for his project “The Resilient Landing”


The JC Nichols Student Prize competition is open to all students in the Junior level Urban Planning + Design studio UPD 312. The Nichols Prize is generously supported by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation.






Transit Driven Thinking

from UMKC Communications 5/17/2017

Nichols Student Prize contestants inspired by streetcar extension

Kansas City’s new streetcar is already driving development activity along its route. So with an election to decide on an extension plan in the offing, it’s only natural to imagine what changes in the city’s urban environment could follow.

Students in the Urban Planning and Design Studio II course at the University of Missouri-Kansas City took on that challenge, and did more than merely imagine the possibilities. The class, taught by faculty members Michael Frisch, AICP and Ted Seligson, FAIA researched existing land uses along the extension route, selected specific intersections, designed transit-driven developments at those locations that would meet community needs, and drafted implementation plans for their concepts. The student proposals were entered in the annual J.C. Nichols Student Prize competition sponsored by the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, part of UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences. Funding for the Nichols Student Prize has been generously provided by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation.

Each student selected a strategic node on Main Street from 30th Street to the UMKC campus.

At 31st and Main, Alex Gilbertson envisioned Warwick Ridge, an iconic building composed of stacked, cantilevered and offset layers, with luxury apartments atop first-floor retail shops.

At Linwood and Main, Rawya Alrammah called for a return to historical levels of housing density, with multiple apartment buildings over underground parking, surrounding an open central courtyard.

Billie Hufford recommended an emphasis on enhanced retail services at Armour and Main, anchored by a new Main Market food hall with dozens of micro-businesses in stalls on a first floor that could be opened to the elements in good weather; apartments would occupy the upper floors.

At that same intersection, Thomas Kimmel’s concept focused on adding a variety of housing types to an under-utilized 13-acre tract behind a school and Home Depot, tied together with a pedestrian concourse dubbed “The Circuit.”

A few blocks to the south, Sean Thomas sought to tie together the intersections of 39th and Main with Main and Westport to create a pedestrian-friendly “harmonious urbanism” that would reclaim areas sacrificed to automotive traffic and parking.

Taylor Vande Velde looked at 43rd and Main and saw an intersection physically dominated by huge nearby buildings – the American Century towers and the Marriott hotel. To counter that impression, she called for a human-scaled piece of landmark architecture built along the waterway. Mill Creek Point would include ground-level retail and community space with residences above.

The Nichols Prize jury, however, was most taken with David McCumber’s concept for the intersection of Main and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard, and awarded him first place in the competition. His pedestrian-oriented concept, Plaza Connections, would reclaim large swaths of asphalt for human use, extend the Trolley Track Trail north of the Country Club Plaza, and add two pedestrian bridges across Brush Creek and three new apartment buildings. But the centerpiece of his concept borrows, as does the Plaza, from Seville, Spain: a half-circle hotel structure outlining a circular public plaza space. The hotel would be built on land owned by the city’s Parks Department, with ample first-floor space open to all, in a new take on public-private partnerships.

The jurors were Prof. Joy Swallow, the AUP+D Department Chair; Bill Bruning, a member of the department’s Advisory Board; Diane Burnette, director of MainCOR; and Gib Kerr of Cushman & Wakefield and the Regional Transit Alliance. They awarded third place to Vande Velde for Mill Creek Point, and second prize to Kimmel for The Circuit.

Center for Neighborhoods 2016 Annual Report

Center for Neighborhoods releases annual report.

The staff of the Center for Neighborhoods at UMKC, which is housed in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design (AUP+D) – is pleased to share the first annual report. The report explains our mission and activities in 2016 since the opening in late April. The report details our impact so far, with maps and data about the neighborhood organizations and leaders who participated in the first two cohorts of the neighborhood leadership program.

The Center would like to thank all of the supporters who made this first year such a great success.

To open a PDF copy of the report – please follow this link:


2016 Bud Prize Announced!

This year’s Bud Prize kicked off with our eleven second-year architecture students presenting to the competition jury on Thursday, December 8th, then met again (with family, friends and the community at large) on Friday, December 9th for a reception and awards ceremony.

This year, the students were challenged to design a live-work bookstore. The program asked the students to a accommodate a bookstore, a cafe, a space for local art, a “hotel” room for overnight stays by visiting authors and, of course, a residence for the bookstore owners. The site was located on 39th Street in Kansas City, Missouri–already a vibrant, eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. The studio was taught by Profs. John Eck and Ted Seligson.

This year’s jury was composed of:
Trevor Hoiland (Helix Architects, Bud Prize Sponsor)
Joy Swallow (UMKC Dept. of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design)
Patricia O’Dell (Writer on Design, UMKC Communications)
Bill Bruning (AUP+D Advisory Board Member)
Jay Siebenmorgen (KSU Dept. of Architecture)

After spending the afternoon reviewing all the projects, the jury awarded the 2016 Bud Prize to Calistro Reyes! Honorable mentions went to Samantha Davis and Tayvia Navy. A big thanks from the UMKC AUP+D to Helix Architects, our distinguished jury and all our tireless students!

This year’s jury, left to right: Trevor Hoiland, Bill Bruning, Patricia O’Dell, Jay Siebenmorgen, Joy Swallow.
2016 Bud Prize Winner: Calistro Reyes
Honorable Mention: Samantha Davis
Honorable Mention: Tayvia Navy
Our Bud Prize Finalists, left to right: Calistro Reyes, Samantha Davis, Tayvia Navy.
Our Bud Prize Finalists, left to right: Calistro Reyes, Samantha Davis, Tayvia Navy.


Urban Studies Student’s Photography Project on Display in Miller Nichols Library

Head to Miller Nichols Library this semester for a display of Anne Martin’s photography.  The lightboxes are on view just to the west of the circulation desk on the first floor.

Anne is a senior Urban Studies major who conducted research and photographed homes built in Minneapolis as part of the Green Homes North project. The photography exhibit highlights the environmental and economic development impacts of infill housing in an older urban core neighborhood.

The UMKC Office of Undergraduate Research funded Anne’s work with a Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) grant.

BUD Prize 2015

From left: Olivia Ashbrook, Sam Green, Lauren Silvers

Future architects learn design and responsibility

What does it take to stimulate an appetite for discovery in an urban environment, establish a space to both create and appreciate art, and build a connection among a park, a school, a church and a residential neighborhood?

It takes an architect with an understanding of urban design. And that is the underlying lesson for the second-year students in the Architectural Studies program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Students in Architectural Design Studio I, taught by faculty members John Eck and Ted Seligson in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, spent much of the semester working on an assignment to design a community art center for the Hyde Park/Manheim Park neighborhood.

A specific site was chosen – the northwest corner of Troost Avenue and Mannheim Road – and students were required to consider the immediate neighborhood’s context: a mix of residential space, parkland, and major buildings such as St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and DeLaSalle Education Center.

“Although the program asks you to provide a pleasing and functional space for a number of art-related activities, your responsibility does not stop there,” the assignment’s creative brief reads. “Your art center has the potential to physically bring the community together—through art shows, classes and other events. When you design the art center, your client is not only the art center—it is also, and perhaps even more importantly, the community.”

The building was required to include an outdoor entry court, entry vestibule, gallery, six artist studios, a wood/metal shop, print shop, outdoor work space and an apartment and studio for a visiting artist.

In addition to learning their future profession, the students also competed for the annual Bud Prize, a $1,000 scholarship established in 2004 with Helix / Architecture + Design to honor Edwin S. “Bud” Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix.

First Prize in the competition went to Olivia Ashbrook. Her design called for a steel structure with white metal paneling on inside spaces for a pure, sleek appearance; a central gallery uses glass paneling to allow natural light.

In an accompanying essay, Ashbrook wrote “The gallery became the central focus of this design, or the hierarchy space … located in the center of the building, with the rest of the spaces wrapped around it.”

The gallery can be glimpsed, but not seen fully from the street, she added, so it “becomes something to be discovered, drawing people in off the street.” The design called for a structure built to a residential scale but “the aesthetic is meant to declare a commercial presence.” Exterior louvers are covered by art to shade the studios and act as signage for the center.

Lauren Silvers earned second prize for her design, a square structure with a central courtyard that serves as the heart of the art center, illuminated by a screened skylight, with secondary spaces grouped around it.

Sam Green earned Honorable Mention. Other participating students in the studio included George Aguilar, Elana Carter, Landon Cook, Jadenn Kelley, JD Meyers, Alex Overbay, Dennis Tong, Sam Valenzuela and Charlie Vue.

Jurors for the competition were Joy Swallow, Architect and AUP+D Department Chair; Shannon Jaax, Planner/ Director of the Repurposing Initiative for Kansas City Public Schools; Alissa Wehmueller, Director of Interiors at Helix / Architecture + Design; Jennifer Tuttle, Artist and Artist’s Mentor; and Christopher Fein, Architect and Professor of Architecture at Kansas State University.

(Story via John Martellaro, UMKC Communications)

Center for Neighborhoods

The Center for Neighborhoods is our new outreach and research center based in the Department and located at 4747 Troost Avenue in Kansas City Missouri. We will serve neighborhoods leaders in Missouri through a series of programs, technical assistance and university-community partnerships to build the capacity of local neighborhood organizations and homeowner’s associations. This Center is funded by the State of Missouri and is a direct result of leadership provided by State Senator Shalonn “Kiki” Curls of Missouri.

Lafitte Greenway opens in New Orleans!

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, the Friends of Lafitte Greenway and the City of New Orleans have announced the opening of the Lafitte Greenway. Students and faculty from UMKC’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design were some of the first planners to work on the greenway idea in 2006. The work was completed as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). UMKC was one of only 16 universities to receive a HUD grant as part of the Universities Rebuilding America Program (URAP).

UMKC worked with the Urban Conservancy in New Orleans http://www.urbanconservancy.org/ to establish a new advocacy group called the Friends of Lafitte Corridor (FOLC). This group worked to advocate for the construction of the Lafitte Greenway in all of the City’s post-disaster recovery plans. Dr. Wagner, Dr. Frisch, Vincent Gauthier and a team of UMKC students worked on the early plans to establish the greenway and the Friends of Lafitte Corridor in 2006 as part of a grant from HUD’s Office of University Partnerships.http://archives.hud.gov/news/2006/pr06-025.cfm

UMKC_Lafitte Greenway Continue reading

The 2015 JC Nichols Student Prize Reception is Friday, May 8, 2015, 5pm.

The 2015 JC Nichols Student Prize reception is Friday, May 8th, at 5:30 pm in Katz Hall Room 101. The winners of the 2015 student prize in urban planning + design as well as other Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design honors will be announced at this reception. All are welcome.

The JC Nichols Student Prize in Urban Planning + Design has been made possible by a generous contribution of the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation.