How We Work

This area provides an in-depth look at how we approach transforming projects from idea to implementation.

Our creative process is focused on collaboration and insightful interaction with our clients, consultants and the community. Through an approach affording each member of the team the ability to identify issues and explore ideas together, we believe everyone gains a deeper understanding of challenges and opportunities. Our creative process inolves four key steps:

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From concept to completion, our team excels in collaborating to achieve your goals – while also thinking beyond the scope to shape your long-term strategy.  

Below are a few project examples illustrating the multi-faceted nature of our work, and the diverse set of skills we bring to facilitate the creative process.

Krause Gateway Center

Des Moines, Iowa

This new corporate headquarters in Downtown Des Moines includes an urban forest and a first of its kind prairie rooftop garden overlooking the Pappjohn Sculpture Park.

The four-acre site is intended to be viewed and function as an extension of the adjacent Pappajohn Sculpture Park providing amenities not included in the park such as shade, lush plantings and intimate seating areas. Confluence led Kum & Go executives through a visioning and goal setting exercise to ensure the new facility reflected the company’s corporate culture and brand. These responsibilities included assisting Kum & Go with project site selection and the selection of an international design architect for the project.

Our landscape architects collaborated with a multi-disciplinary team composed of world-renowned architecture firm, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and local architecture firm, OPN Architects, among others to create this integrated headquarters facility that reflects the Iowa landscape.

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Visioning / RFQ Collaboration Cultural Amenity Urban Forest Sustainability Construction

Krause Gateway Center

Visioning / RFQ

Confluence guided the Kum & Go Executive Team through a comprehensive visioning and site selection process for the project, which included identifying a list of world-renowned architects for owner consideration. Confluence also prepared, issued and evaluated an International Call for Submissions RFQ for Design Architects. As a result of the evaluation process, a team of international architect Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) and local architecture firm OPN Architects were selected.

Kansas State University: Seaton / Regnier Hall

Manhattan, Kansas

The renovation of historic Seaton Hall and the construction of new Regnier Hall now serve as the new home for students and faculty of KSU's College of Architecture, Planning and Design.

Confluence led the site planning and landscape architecture design efforts as part of a multi-disciplinary team for this transormative project. One of our team's goals was to create an environment for design learning that allows students to experience shared, collaborative and flexible areas that connect interior and exterior spaces.

Special features included extensive stormwater capture and re-use, a terraced courtyard with outdoor classroom, green roof areas used in on-going research, and integrating a progressive design aesthetic into the historic core of the KSU Campus.

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Engagement Schematic Design Design Development Sustainability Visualization Final Design Construction Documents Construction Observation Completion Performance Evaluation Recognition

Kansas State University: Seaton / Regnier Hall


Our team’s stakeholder interaction began with interviews prior to our selection. The two-stage interviews included an on-campus open forum with 200+ students, faculty and alumni and a follow-up with State of Kansas and KSU representatives. Working collaboratively with the Dean and Department Heads, our team shared design options and recommendations while providing opportunities for making informed decisions. Regular updates were provided to students and faculty, including a series of “ask the team” drop-in sessions to discuss the design progress.

Downtown River Greenway

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

With the intent to enhance the Downtown Sioux Falls bike trail and greenway, the City recognized the need to create an attractive recreational destination while catalyzing economic development opportunities along the Sioux River corridor.

The Sioux Falls bike trail and greenway was established in 1975 with the completion of the original Greenway Master Plan. In 2004, Confluence provided the City with an update to the existing Greenway and Riverfront Master Plan - including a feasibility study for the Downtown section of the plan. As part of this planning process, we worked closely with public and private stakeholders, including three major redevelopment projects, to identify issues and to build consensus for a unified vision.

The implementation phases that followed have greatly enhanced entertainment and recreation opportunities within Downtown and have created important infrastructure and stimulus for private riverfront redevelopment - creating a lively and vibrant pedestrian-friendly linear amenity.

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Phased Master Plan PERMIT FACILITATION Environmental Cleanup OVERCOMING OBSTACLES Environmental Graphics Project Impact Recognition

Downtown River Greenway

Phased Master Plan

Confluence developed a detailed Greenway Master Plan for phased implementation of proposed improvements. The purpose of the Downtown River Greenway project was to improve greenway access and provide additional amenities for recreational opportunities, while serving as a catalyst for private redevelopment adjacent to the Greenway. The final Master Plan includes over eight blocks of riverfront re-development addressing improvements to flood control, pedestrian accessibility, an amphitheater, recreational space, water features, a bike trail expansion and upgrades, interpretive and wayfinding signage, gathering spaces, lighting, landscape and irrigation. The first two phases of the Greenway Master Plan have been successfully implemented, resulting in the initiation of several privately funded projects that have a direct connection to the Greenway.

Kettlestone / Grand Prairie Parkway

Waukee, Iowa

This master plan guides future growth and development of a large residential and commercial mixed-use district within this vital new corridor connecting I-80 into Downtown Waukee.

Strategically located on the western edge of the Des Moines metropolitan area, Grand Prairie Parkway has long been an economic development priority for the City. Confluence led a multi-disciplinary effort to craft a comprehensive Master Plan that knits the area together through connected open spaces, streets and trail networks.  Our team also created a new identity for this entire district - Kettlestone.  Based on a detailed market study, our team crafted land use alternatives and illustrated how the corridor could be developed to its full potential while achieving the City's vision and goals.

Upon completion of the Master Plan, our team's role continued in multiple projects including the design of an extensive greenway and trails system that functions as a regional stormwater detention facility, a set of comprehensive development design guidelines, and an overlay zoning district supporting future growth.  

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Stakeholder Engagement Resilient Greenways Master Planning Community Branding Identification Signage Design Guidelines Economic Development Recognition

Kettlestone / Grand Prairie Parkway

Stakeholder Engagement

In addition to the input solicited at various community meetings and public hearings of the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council, early in the process the consultant team coordinated an all-day bus tour of various types of developments within the Kansas City Metro. Members of the development community, property owners, community leaders and the media, in addition to elected officials, Planning Commissioners, and City staff, were invited and participated in the bus tour. The focus of the guided tour was to obtain community input as to aspects of developments that were preferred and those elements that were not preferred. Input from the bus tour was obtained by visual preference surveys, one-on-one stakeholder interviews, comment cards, and group discussions. Later in the master planning process, additional feedback on the initial concept plans and elements was sought from property owners and community members through a serious of roundtable discussions and one-on-one stakeholder meetings. The final step in the public communication process was a master plan unveiling ceremony to excite the community regarding the new Kettlestone brand for the district.

Burlington Corridor Complete Street Plan

North Kansas City, Missouri

Serving as a primary gateway into the City, this new vision creates an opportunity for alternate transportation options for cyclists, pedestrians and residents.

Confluence created a vision for revitalizing the two-mile Burlington Corridor through the City of North Kansas City. This corridor is one of three primary roadways connecting Kansas City’s Northland area over the Missouri River into Downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Through community involvement efforts, our team developed a comprehensive program by optimizing and narrowing existing traffic lane configurations to create the Kansas City Metropolitan Area’s first “Cycle Track.” Integration of transit stations/infrastructure, on-street vehicular parking, widened sidewalks and pedestrian amenities were other key considerations incorporated into planned improvements. The aesthetic character of the corridor’s streetscape appearance was planned to emulate a modern industrial theme that honors the historic use of the corridor while also promoting continued revitalization activities and redevelopment of adjacent properties.

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Context Assessment Engagement Visioning Concept Planning Sustainability Complete Streets Transit Integration Visualization Thinking Ahead Funding Recognition

Burlington Corridor Complete Street Plan

Context Assessment

Our team began the planning process by analyzing and cataloging the existing corridor conditions for the City of North Kansas City. We synthesized building patterns and adjacent uses, accessibility, lighting and landscape conditions, parking availability, stormwater systems, and overall transit usage and station locations.

Minnesota Vikings Headquarters: Practice Facility and Vikings Lakes Developments

Eagan, Minnesota

The 200-acre Vikings Lakes Development is the proud new home to this NFL team, boasting a state-of-the-art headquarters and training facility weaved together by a flexible and imaginative landscape fabric.

Confluence led the vision, planning, design and execution of site and landscape design and construction documentation with our architecture team members, and local civil, structural and mechanical engineers. Our approach for maintaining constant effective communication with various ownership groups and team members, we were able to maintain the client's aggressive design and construction schedule while aligning outcomes to meet shifting budgets, priorities, and other coordination challenges.

The successful design results reflect the strengths of our collaborative team approach, and focuses on essential elements such as programming for multiple events and user groups, creating a dynamic visitor experience, integrating sustainability and strengthening connections to the surrounding community.

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Master Planning Design Guidelines Programming Public Realm Training Facilities Placemaking Security Ecological Restoration Project Management Construction Documents

Minnesota Vikings Headquarters: Practice Facility and Vikings Lakes Developments

Master Planning

One of the critical components of this development was Public Open Space. Known as the home to the Minnesota Vikings, the development is also defined as a place to live, work, play and provide the local community and visitors an opportunity to be a part of the development. In addition to the public parks and plazas, trails and natural areas play an important role as public open space—allowing for events and activities within developed areas, and serving as the “living room” for community life—places where people meet, interact, and linger, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well-being.