BKV Group (BKV) is building more than just high-quality urban environments. The award-winning Minneapolis-based architectural design firm is also building a sense of community through residential building that’s more than just an apartment number or unit, but a well-rounded urban living experience. “Through thoughtful, innovative design we try to incorporate all of the elements that reflect and make some of the world’s greatest cities,” shares Jack Boarman, president and founding partner of BKV.
BKV has been supporting the urban revitalization movement throughout Minnesota, Washington, D.C. and Chicago for several years. “Nearly 75 percent of what we do now is housing,” reveals Jack. “In recent years, 20 to 25 urban areas in the U.S. have experienced an influx of younger generations. Absorbing the population has really driven urban development, but what we’re trying to do isn’t just about meeting the needs of high density housing, we’re building residential communities in an urban sense.”
BKV exists today as a collaboration of several architectural firms, the first being Jack’s own company, founded in 1978. “I started out alone, in the beginning I didn’t have partners,” he recalls. “In 1991, David Kroos joined me and by 1996 Gary Vogel merged his firm with ours. This is where the name BKV originates.”
The company now has nine partners and remains based in Minneapolis. “We work nationwide because we also have locations in Washington, D.C. and Chicago,” notes Jack. “We’ve done about nine residential projects in the growing uptown Minneapolis area, taking all of the good things about the area and making it five times better. We’re looking to do more of the same in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.”
BKV’s services span numerous markets, from housing to historical renovations, but Jack says the company is heavily involved in development, corporate and governmental projects. “In corporate sector we’re doing office interiors, call and data centers and on the development side we’re doing mixed-use housing, university and senior housing.”
But what BKV is really focused on is using its design resources to emphasize total building design, from aesthetics and residential branding to the science of building technology and the challenge of creative cost control. “It’s a journey that involves the community in a vision for growth and quality of life,” explains Jack. “We rally support and enthusiasm from the neighborhood and other local architects to work together and build community.”
BKV has made a significant impact on Minneapolis’ vibrant Uptown area. Situated between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles, Uptown is a well established residential neighborhood aligned with the recreational corridor known as the Midtown Greenway. “There’s much more excitement about living in an urban environment than there was in the past,” notes Jack. “We’re creating a more viable quality of life along the 15 block district.”
Named after the constant flow of people and change in the area, BKV’s Flux 1800 (Flux) project in the city is a 216-unit market-rate project that redefines Uptown living. Flux combines a variety of dwellings, including street-level walk ups, terrace units, flats and penthouses into an upscale, resort-like atmosphere. Indoor and outdoor spaces flow seamlessly, creating an open community with amenities such as, a cyber café, culinary kitchen, pub and billiards room, yoga and fitness center, outdoor bar, fireplace and grilling stations, a pool and cabana, bocce ball court and community dog park.
“Our goal is to deliver opportunity through innovative design,” adds Jack. “As the master architect on these developments we partner with local architects to build accessible, livable communities with vibrancy.”
BKV also tackles ambitious historic restorations and redevelopment in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. The Pillsbury A-Mill, a historic industrial structure, was constructed in 1881. “We’re converting the mill into about 225 artist housing units along with common art spaces and a performance hall,” reveals Jack. “We’ve incorporated a museum on the lower level to highlight the historical significance of the milling industry.”
In 2013, BKV received the Minnesota Preservation Award for expert historical work on the C&E Lofts and the company was recently ranked number 18 on the Minnesota Business Journal’s Top 25 Architects in the state.
After 35 years in business, Jack says the firm has no plans of slowing down. “We’re going to continue to develop larger, complex urban environments,” he notes. “We’re a team of urbanists and environmentalists as well as architects. By teaming with developers and creative partners we’re looking to bring the same sense of community to Chicago and Washington, D.C.” BKV Group continues to build more than just a residential building, but also the epitome of an urban community.
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