Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center

Simple design making a big impact

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Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center is a new facility in the heart of Kansas City’s gentrifying Westside Neighborhood. It is Kansas City’s oldest social service agency, dedicated to individual and family well-being through social services, behavior health counseling and the arts. This project serves primarily Hispanic and Latinx communities. The center houses the client’s cultural programming, including arts education, public programming, and curation of the Hand-in-Hand Folk Art collection. Due to demographic shifts and gentrification pressures, most of the client’s service facilities have been relocated to Kansas City’s Northeast neighborhood. It was important to them to not only maintain a foothold in the Westside, but to make a strong visual statement of commitment and presence with this project. The client acquired the last commercially zoned property in the neighborhood, then immediately discovered that the property suffered serious environmental contamination. As the diagrams demonstrate, the site design is a reaction to the need to excavate a specific part of the ground for abatement. The architectural form and color are simple gestures towards creating presence. The volume allows generous display of artwork and facilitates future expansion by adding a second floor. Apertures are limited and carefully placed. A custom trellis of steel and wood (designed and built by El Dorado) expands program space outside and shields the large gallery window wall from direct sunlight.
  • 2022
  • Architect
  • Kansas City, MO
  • 4,262 SF


  • Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center

Eldo Team

  • Principal: David Dowell, AIA
  • Project Manager: Sean Slattery, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
  • Fabricator: Ted Arendes, R.A.


  • Design-Build Lead: McCown Gordon Construction
  • MEP Engineering: Antella
  • Civil Engineering: DuBois
  • Structural Engineering: LOK Engineering


  • Mike Sinclair


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