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TWA Administrative Offices Building - Kansas City, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 39° 18.059 W 094° 41.051
15S E 354779 N 4351529
Quick Description: Office building constructed to serve as administrative offices for Trans World Airways in north Kansas City, Missouri.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 4/14/2011 9:22:47 PM
Waymark Code: WMB7EP
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member deano1943
Views: 0

Long Description:
"The building, which is the only administrative facility designed and erected by TWA on land that it owned in Kansas City, has significant local associations with Commerce and Transportation due to Trans World Airline's (TWA) role as Kansas City's  "Home Town Airline" beginning in 1931. The TWA Administrative Offices Building accommodated two thousand employees and is exceptionally significant locally in Commerce for its association with TWA, the largest employer in Kansas City at the time. The $15 million office headquarters was part of TWA's unprecedented investment in the community and was integrally related to the design and construction of the Kansas City International Airport. As the airport's primary tenant, TWA invested well over $90 million in its Kansas City facilities between 1968 and 1972, the then-largest expenditure made by any firm in the Kansas City metropolitan area.  At the time of the completion of the TWA Administrative Offices Building, TWA contributed up to $200 million annually into the local economy. The building reflects specific administrative changes that occurred within the TWA Corporation internationally in the late 1960s, which resulted in the consolidation of TWA's administrative offices at the Kansas City International Airport into one of the state's largest office buildings at that time, in anticipation of the Kansas City International Airport becoming the county's central international air travel arrival and destination point.  The property also has exceptional significance in the area of Transportation for its administrative associations as the location of TWA's main national and international overhaul and maintenance base located in Kansas City and as the international headquarters of TWA's Programmed Airline Reservation System (PARS). the first computerized reservation system in airline history.

The TWA Administrative Offices Building is also exceptionally significant locally in the area of Architecture for its association with the -'leading force in American corporate architecture in the post- World War II period - the architectural firm of Skidmore Owings & Merrill,  a firm that established the Miesian curtain wall as a formula and promulgated the integration of landscape architecture with building design.7 In particular, the design of the building and site reflects Mies van der Rohe's philosophy that buildings should rise from a symmetrical central space, creating a balance between the building and the surrounding open space. Crucial to this plan was the pioneering design work of the planning and landscape architecture firm Sasaki, Dawson, DeMay Associates, Inc. Hideo Sasaki, founder of the firm, was then also the chairman of Harvard University's landscape architecture program. Also joining SOM on the design and construction team were the following national leaders in building construction, noted for the quality and ingenuity of their work: Hines Interests, internationally recognized real estate developers known for their role in the construction of the Shell Oil Company 's world headquarters and the Houston Galleria; the architectural firm of Wilson, Morris, Crain and Associates, designers of the Astrodome; Chenault  & Brady Engineers and Ellisor Engineers, structural and mechanical engineering companies for the Shell Oil and the Pennzoii corporations' international headquarters; and the Blount Brothers Corporation, general contractors noted for the construction of the Louisiana Superdome." - National Register Nomination form

Street address:
11500 Ambassador Dr.
Kansas City, Missouri


County / Borough / Parish: Platte

Year listed: 2007

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event

Periods of significance: 1950-1974

Historic function: Commerce/Trade

Current function: Commerce/Trade

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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