Richard Hu never thought he’d be involved in designing a $1.5 billion project that will serve as the gateway to Kansas City for decades to come.

Hu’s firm, HJM Architects Inc., worked in partnership with lead designer Skidmore Owings & Merrill to essentially design the perimeter skin, or facade, of the new Kansas City International Airport terminal building. One of the designers of KCI’s original terminals worked for Hu’s father, he said, and was one of his first design mentors.

“So when this opportunity came up, trying to get even just a small piece of it, because it’s going to be a huge part of the city, and to be able to be on the team for any part of it is great,” Hu said. “It’s not something that happens often.”

The project not only boosts Hu’s personal résumé, but benefits to the Kansas City firm already are apparent. The opportunity provided HJM a familiarity with other subcontractors Hu’s firm typically doesn’t work alongside and strengthened relationships with consultants the firm otherwise wouldn’t have worked with.

HJM and Kansas City’s DRAW Architecture + Urban Design have worked together in the past, Hu said, and that made the design partnership easy from the start.

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