(Kansas City, Missouri) - Bill Zahner made a tough call shortly after taking charge of the family business in the late 1970s, shifting the focus of the A. Zahner Co. from siding and deck work to metal fabrication.
He shaped an architectural powerhouse whose work now adorns skyscrapers, museums, and artwork around the world. Among its current projects is construction of the facade for an elaborate, $130 million aquarium scheduled to open this year in Fortaleza, Brazil. Locally, the company created the distinctive "sky station" sculptures atop Bartle Hall; the corkscrewing, stainless steel spire on the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints Temple in Independence; and the graceful, curved shell of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
In the latest installment of the Library's Kansas City: Cradle of Entrepreneurs series, Zahner sits down for a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.
The A. Zahner Co. dates to 1897, spanning four generations. L. William Zahner, a great-grandson of its founder, is a globally recognized expert on the use of metals in artwork and architecture who now heads a staff of nearly 200 craftsmen and engineers in offices and two plants in Kansas City and Dallas.
A. Zahner's reputation grew, in part, because of its close relationship with noted architect Frank Gehry, who turned regularly to the company to execute his bold, complex, and invariably challenging designs. Their collaborations include Chicago's Pritzker Pavilion and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The firm's work also is seen in such landmarks as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City and the de Young Museum in San Francisco.
Bill Zahner, 59, earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Kansas and has been awarded an honorary AIA Degree by the American Institute of Architects. Among other honors, he is a recipient of the prestigious Copper Metal Award from Associazione Italiana di Metallurgia, Milan, Italy.
He was named in 2013 to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Council and is the author of two books, Architectural Metal Surfaces and Architectural Metals: A Guide to Selection, Specification, and Performance.
Also a sculptor, Zahner serves on the advisory board of the Johnson County Community College's Nerman Museum of Art and is a past chairman of the Kansas City Art Institute.
Admission to the presentation is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.
Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.