Taste & See KC: Power & Light Building stands as a beacon of art deco extravagance

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Completed in 1931, the Power & Light tower in downtown Kansas City was the tallest building west of the Mississippi until Seattle's Space Needle came along several years later. 

The art deco-inspired facades and interior design came more than a decade after the height of the style, but the building still stands as a splendid example of the early 20th century architectural trend.

The building underwent massive renovations in recent years that turned most of the building into apartments, but most of the common spaces are true to their 1930s roots.

In the lobby on the main floor, marble floors and gold-gilded elevator doors greet you just as they did visitors more than 85 years ago.

The Grand Hall is perhaps the building's most elegant space. Ornate columns and overhead beams frame the room in the soft light of its chandeliers. Staircases wind down to the event space on either side, and natural light flows through the windows past the tower's detailed exterior stonework.

Take a couple elevators up 32 floors, and you'll find yourself in the remodeled Beacon Lounge. This chic vertical space wraps around the metal stairs that descend from the tower's beacon. Glowing from above the bar and stairwell, the original copper beacons from outside the tower now hang as stylish chandeliers in the lounge.

From the lounge, you can walk out to a 360-degree patio with panoramic views of the entire Kansas City metro area. You can also get a close-up look at the glass and stone work the building is famous for. 

The beacon itself rises above the patio, still hosting the iconic geometric glass panes it did in 1931. The beacon used to have flickering lights to imitate flames, but now puts on a multi-color LED display when the sun goes down.

Watch the video at the top of this page to take a short tour of the building and see for yourself!

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