Dallas Arts District’s Museum Tower

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The new Museum Tower (foreground) joins the Chase Tower (center left) and the Trammell Crow Center (center right), both designed by SOM, in the Dallas Arts District.
Courtesy Johnson Fain

the narrow oval shape helps break down the tower’s bulk, while allowing for wide balconies at either end.

Dallas has seen the completion of several major architectural projects in its cultural district, including buildings by Renzo Piano, Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas, and Norman Foster, all of which accompany classics by I.M. Pei and Ed Barnes. The final piece of that puzzle, providing much-needed residential space, is Los Angeles–based Johnson Fain’s 42-story, 500-foot-tall condominium tower known as Museum Tower.

The 123-unit structure, set to be completed by 2013, is the tallest building in this section of Dallas since Philip Johnson’s Comerica Bank Tower (originally called Momentum Place). “It’s a symbol of the growing arts community here,” said firm principal Scott Johnson. It’s also a symbol of the region’s abundance of natural gas, the source of much of the area’s art-world largesse.

The tower will be shaped like a narrow oval in plan, providing unobstructed views and also giving the building a more pronounced presence, said Johnson. Glass cladding the facade, which will tip inward below and outward above, will alternate from clear to translucent to opaque, providing variety and breaking down the building’s bulk.

“I was interested in doing something pure, because the neighborhood is full of a lot of architectural testosterone,” said Johnson, who compares the tower to a shaft of light. 

Balconies along the structure’s flanks will be huge: measuring 12 to 16 feet deep, erasing what Johnson calls the “fear factor” often associated with overhangs at such heights. The completion of any tall building also has its own fear factor in the current economy: “I’m sure everyone will be watching it with beady eyes,” joked the architect.

Architect: Johnson Fain
Brook Partners and Turtle Creek Holdings
Dallas, Texas

the deeply-set balconies offer a sense of safety and enclosure for residents.
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