The Kansas City metro has tens of thousands of fascinating citizens within its population of 2.34 million. Talented, passionate people are drawn here—or remain in this vibrant, 15-city region—for the arts, sports, music scene, and its generosity, both in spirit and philanthropy.
Distilling those numbers to highlight just nine individuals and one couple was quite the editorial trick. Some made the list based on career excellence; a few for how they deftly pivoted during the pandemic to serve the needs of others. Like true creatives, two of our profiles could have starred in more than one category, bridging charity and music, art and fashion and technology.
With great pride, we introduce you to our Architecture & Design honoree, Matthew Hufft.
Architecture & Interior Design | Matthew Hufft
When Matthew Hufft learned that the architectural firm that bears his name appears in two other sections of this article—for fabricating the Curbside Notary kiosks and Birdie’s storefront for West 18th Street Fashion Show—he wasn’t surprised. “That’s one thing I love about this community,” he said. “We pull together. We help where needed.”
That spirit is at the forefront of two of his firm’s massive projects with Community Builders of Kansas City: The Rochester and The Offices at Overlook.
Both developments will serve Kansas City’s Blue Parkway corridor, starting with The Rochester, the first market-rate multifamily development east of Prospect Avenue. The 64-unit residential project is named for Rochester “Chuck” Gaston, CBKC’s founder. “I never had the privilege of meeting him,” says Matthew, “but I do know about his passion for the area where he grew up—the East Side.
“He spent his career literally building communities, and we’re trying to honor his legacy by making this design warm and inviting. There will be lots of spaces for families to gather and kids to play. The apartments will feature exceptional finishes and amenities, including stainless-steel appliances, in-unit washers and dryers, and a fitness center.” The four-story structure is on target to be completed in 2022.
Hufft was also awarded the Offices at Overlook project by CBKC. This mixed-use, 11-acre property will transform the corner of Swope Parkway and Chestnut Avenue. Plans include a three-story office building with private tenant roof terraces along with shared conference/meeting spaces for companies and organizations within or nearby the structure. People living in the 155 apartment units will enjoy a walking trail and outdoor event plazas. Matthew describes the overall development as a village.
“Working on the design for Offices at Outlook has been a real honor,” Matthew says. “Everyone on the project team uses the word ‘transformative’ often, and that’s what it will be for this corridor. We’re designing a site with great attention to landscaping and ways to enhance meaningful indoor and outdoor uses.”
This work is happening at the ideal time, according to Matthew, who founded his firm 16 years ago. “During 2020, we knew we wanted to recommit ourselves even more to inclusive, community-based projects. We’ve made a pledge to do better, and we will.”
Read about the other 2021 Innovators & Influencers honorees here.