Project spotlight: Fishtech.

After the paint dries, the parking lot is paved, and the doors officially open for business, the design of Fishtech’s new headquarters will showcase a balance between display and work.

Fishtech is the next endeavor for well-known Kansas City tech entrepreneur Gary Fish. The 2-story, 20,000 sq. ft. new-build facility will hold the company’s research and development operations, with dedicated showroom spaces for Fishtech’s “smart home” technology products on the first floor. An open work environment for the company’s nearly 50 employees and a covered exterior patio make up the second floor.

The project is a welcomed addition to the south Kansas City suburb of Martin City, where economic development has slowed and properties have lingered on the market for years. The lack of recent development presented a unique challenge during the initial design phase of the new headquarters space.

“We can usually pull design cues from vernacular of the area or surrounding architecture, but the context on this specific project was limited,” said project designer Zach Sumada. “The client presented three interior spaces he liked and a hand-sketched floor plan, and basically handed us the reins from there.”

The exterior form was developed around the concept of contrast: light versus dark, warm versus cool. A white metal panel box is carved out to reveal the interior office environment, and sits over a glass structure. Stone blade walls anchor the vertical circulation and serve as a base for the metal box. To drastically contrast the pristine white box, a corrugated zinc panel wraps the back portion of the building. The material selection creates a dramatic inverse at night – the glass glows to reveal the interior, while the white box becomes a contrasting solid. Metal louvers, cantilevers and deep setbacks around the windows maintain clear views to the exterior while controlling heat gain.

“The final product is entirely owed to a collaborative design process using our weekly Design Forum discussions, small design charrettes and open dialogue with our client,” Sumada said. “It’s been enjoyable to work with a team and client that are open to new ideas, willing to take risks and try new design concepts.”

The project team includes Dialectic as the mechanical/electrical/plumbing and fire protection engineer, Wallace Engineering as civil, and A.L. Huber as the general contractor. Construction is officially underway for the project, located at 13333 Holmes Road.