In early May of 2015, Zahner’s unique building was featured on a regular Kansas City Public Radio program, “What Is That?”. The program investigates odd storefronts, architecturally innovative buildings and other mysterious landmarks around the Kansas City area. In the process, the program helps listeners learn more about the local landmarks, companies, and history of the community.

Susan B. Wilson saw the building’s unique facade at 9th and paseo, and decided to stop and inquire about the company headquarters on a whim. Wilson is the host of the What is that? program, and she describes her curious visit to the Zahner Headquarters in Kansas City:

“If you are like me, it was impossible to drive past the building on 9th and Paseo without slowing down to look at it. That is, the facade of wavy, almost undulating metal, soaring upward and ending with angled roundish roof. But it’s like a mystery — the building has no sign.

“After turning the corner on 8th street, finally, a door. Turns out, this is the headquarters of the A. Zahner Company, the 118 year old award winning architectural and engineering firm. So why did A. Zahner Company go to such great lengths to make the building a masterpiece?” — Susan B. Wilson

After searching around the building, she discovers the small unassuming door at 8th and Lydia St, and enters to interview CEO/President L. William Zahner and Marketing Director Gary Davis.

Undulating fin-facade of the Zahner "CloudWall" in Kansas City.
Undulating fin-facade of the Zahner "CloudWall" in Kansas City.
Detail of the reflective lighting caused within the Zahner "CloudWall."
Detail of the reflective lighting caused within the Zahner "CloudWall."
“It’s somewhat unusual to find a global company in central Kansas City. But Zahner says the company has a history at the location and it fits their needs.

“We like being the hidden jewel on the east side of downtown,” said CEO/President L. William Zahner. “But it’s very convenient in a real respect to get on the highway and go anywhere we need to go.”

The Kansas City landscape holds numerous examples of the Zahner combination of fine architecture and art, including the crown at Kauffman Stadium, and the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. But the firm has made its mark globally too, from the embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia to the Chicago band shell at Millenium Park. 

Zahner says they’re trying to do something different — working with artists and architects to push the boundaries of technology and engineering. Whether it’s at 9th and Paseo or around the world.”

About the Host

Susan B. Wilson is the radio host of KC Currents and other programs on KCUR. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wilson admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”

Visit the full page on KCUR’s website.