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KAI Design & Build Hires New York Artist Kennedy Yanko as Art Director

in Companies/People

Interior Design Team launches initiative to incorporate more art in their projects

KAI Design & Build and its Interior Design Team have launched an initiative to support the art community by incorporating work from artists around the country into their design projects. To facilitate the effort, KAI has hired New York City artist and St. Louis native Kennedy Yanko as Art Director.

Yanko will work with KAI’s Interior Design Team to implement an embedded practice that puts culture and art at the forefront of its interior design conceptualization process. By understanding client interests and their unique missions, Yanko will ensure that any artwork selected for a project successfully emphasizes the core focus of that client’s workplace or environment.

“As a New York City-based artist, Yanko is in a prime position to lead this movement, having her ear to the ground of the nation’s contemporary art scene,” said KAI President Michael Kennedy, Jr. “From artist studios to national museums and the marketplace, she knows what is happening in the art community and how to harness that creativity to the benefit of our clients.”

For four years, Yanko has alternated between a residency at The Living Theater in New York — one of the first and arguably the most influential experimental theater troupes in the U.S. — while dedicating herself to her studio practice in St. Louis. Throughout this period, her work was showcased in a trio of solo exhibitions in St. Louis (2009’s “Wu-Wei,” 2010’s “Paroxysm,” and 2012’s “Permutation”) that coincided with major developments in Yanko’s experiments in painting. This September, her series of work “Elements and Skin” will be featured in a group show at Jenkins Johnson’s new project space in Brooklyn. Kennedy will also be in a group show at Lewis Long gallery in Harlem at the end of January. She currently resides in and maintains her studio practice in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

“I have always understood life through movement and my senses; I have to create something physically in order to truly understand it intellectually,” said Yanko. “Most recently, my three dimensional sculptural paintings have served as the foundations for immersive experiences in physical spaces and in virtual reality. I’m eagerly looking forward to joining the dialogue at KAI, collaborating with the Interiors Team, and emphasizing art as an anchoring component of projects going forward.”

Yanko and the Interior Design Team plan to promote the art community in the following ways:

  • Attending art openings and exhibitions
  • Partnering with art liaisons to initiate the use of art in projects as a standard practice
  • Developing “art packages” based on client budgets
  • Creating events that are collaborative and incorporate design and art such as “meet the artist” or a featured artwork of the month

For more information about KAI’s art initiative, contact Interiors Specialist Asha Perez at 314-241-8188.

KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through client collaboration, the latest technology, proprietary processes and individual expertise. 

KAI Design & Build Offers Experienced Disaster Relief Services to Get Utilities, Businesses Back Up and Running Quickly

in Companies/News

When natural disasters occur, like recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which left a trail of devastation across eastern Texas and Florida, hiring a contractor with disaster relief experience is key to getting public utilities and businesses back up and running quickly, with minimal disruption to customers.

KAI Design & Build, with its experience in rebuilding after a catastrophe, is prepared at a moment’s notice to assist clients nationwide with emergency disaster relief. For more than a decade, KAI has developed and refined its many services to assist clients who have suffered major damage to a structure or facility due to a natural disaster.

“We undertake a significant management role in coordinating strategies to provide relief, as well as enhance our clients’ abilities to quickly recover from emergencies and catastrophes,” said Bruce Wood, PE, CCM, Chief Operating Officer at KAI Design & Build. “KAI is ready around-the-clock to respond with our construction management, engineering, architecture and construction services to address any type of disaster, damage or disruption.”

Disaster Relief Case Study

In 2016, KAI was contracted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to provide emergency relief services after historic rains and severe flooding at the end of 2015 caused the shutdown of two of its wastewater treatment plants, and damage to a third plant. The total estimated damage was $11 million.

KAI worked with MSD to quickly identify the primary and secondary treatment process equipment that needed to be refurbished or replaced as a result of the flooding, as well as developed plans and schedules to get the plants back into operation.

Although protected by a levee designed for a 500-year-flood, the Meramec River overtopped the levee and completely flooded MSD’s wastewater treatment plant in Fenton, Missouri, including the control room, and knocked out all power. At one point, the entire facility was submerged under six feet of water.

Despite the Fenton Plant being completely offline, primary treatment was re-established within 45 days, secondary treatment was re-established within 2.5 months, and a regulatory deadline for disinfection was met as well. The estimated cost of the damage was $7.5 million.

At that same time, the Grand Glaize Creek, which runs directly to the south of MSD’s Grand Glaize Treatment Plant, became engorged with flood waters due to historic levels on the Meramec River and connecting waterways. As soon as flooding was predicted, a sandbag wall was constructed, but as time went on, the predicted water level increased and ultimately the sandbag wall was breached. Portions of the plant were flooded and MSD crews had to be evacuated.

Within four days, MSD, with help from KAI, was able to restore partial service at the Grand Glaize Treatment Plant, and secondary treatment processes were restored within a month. The estimated cost of the damage was $2.5 million.

While the Grand Glaize and Fenton treatment plants sustained the most damage causing significant interruption to service, MSD’s Missouri River Treatment Plant experienced flooding in one building located in a low-lying area as a result of the heavy rains.

A quick response including sandbag operations prevented further damage and associated interruptions in treatment. The Missouri River plant operated in emergency mode for only one week, with all treatment operations restored within another 10 days. The estimated cost of the damage was $1 million.

Services/skills provided by KAI on these projects included:

  • Mobilizing a team quickly. Within 48 hours, KAI was able to assemble a 14-person team integrated from four firms.
  • Achieving close cooperation and communication from everyone involved. KAI was able to track the daily time of employees and materials from several entities, including KAI’s team.
  • Monitoring MSD’s minority involvement goals. MSD has established strict guidelines for Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) participation, and KAI was also tasked with monitoring each contractor’s participation for compliance.
  • Practical planning and strategizing. Through its planning and scheduling process, KAI was able to determine what material and equipment was needed and when. Using this information, KAI managed the procurement process, met the schedules and minimized the impact to customers.
  • Highly focused reviews. KAI’s team reviewed proposals to focus on needs and processes to meet the set schedule.
  • Construction inspection. The KAI team provided full-time construction inspection services at all three plants, at times, on an “around the clock” basis.

KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through client collaboration, the latest technology, proprietary processes and individual expertise

STLCC Awards KAI Design & Build Contract to Design New Allied Health Center

in Companies/News

KAI Design & Build has been awarded a consulting contract with St. Louis Community College (STLCC) to design the new Allied Health Center on the college’s Forest Park campus. The project team will be comprised of 85% Minority Business and Woman Business Enterprises through KAI and its consultants.

The contract was approved at the STLCC Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 23.

“KAI presents an experienced, diverse project team that has done considerable design work for the college,” said Jeff Pittman, Ph.D., STLCC chancellor. “They demonstrated a clear vision for the transformative nature of the new building, as well as a creative preliminary solution to the site development, acoustic concerns and future campus space requirements.”

The project aims to gain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification for the building. LEED is considered the leading benchmark in green building.

The proposed site of the new Allied Health building is along Oakland Avenue between the Library building and immediately north of the A, B and C Towers. It will house STLCC-Forest Park’s existing Allied Health programs, and add the districtwide Nursing program, plus the Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapist Assistant programs, which are currently offered at the Meramec campus. Preliminary data suggests the facility will be 65,000 square feet.

“The new Allied Health Center will be a significant addition and improvement to the Forest Park campus. Replacing a more than 50-year-old structure, the new building will metaphorically reintroduce the campus to the St. Louis community in a bold and vibrant way.”, said Larry Johnson Jr, Ph.D., STLCC-Forest Park provost.

Project completion on the Allied Health building is estimated to be two-and-a-half years. Actual construction may take up to 15 months, and also will include demolition of the A and B Towers and construction of a new entrance off Oakland Avenue.

KAI Design & Build was established in 1980 in St. Louis, MO. The firm specializes in providing value‐added building solutions through design and build collaboration.

Established in 1962, St. Louis Community College is the largest community college district in Missouri and one of the largest in the United States. STLCC has four campuses: Florissant Valley, Forest Park, Meramec and Wildwood. The college annually serves more than 80,000 students through credit courses, continuing education and workforce development programs. For more information about STLCC, visit

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