Posts tagged with "Dallas":

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Dallas picks routes for new subway and streetcar lines

Last Wednesday, the Dallas City Council unanimously endorsed Commerce Street as the preferred location for a new subway project and a new streetcar line. Even though the decision is not yet final, this event is a significant milestone for a public transportation project that has been under debate for several years. The massive undertaking of embedding a subway line in downtown Dallas has a projected cost of $1.3 billion and is slated for completion in 2024. The line would begin above ground near the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Victory Station and make its way to a new station adjacent to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science before going underground. It is designed to relieve pressure on the existing four light rail lines, which all run on the same downtown track.  Estimated at $92 million dollars, the new streetcar line would link already existing streetcars in Uptown Dallas with existing lines running in the north Oak Cliff area. While there are technically three locations still in consideration for the streetcar, the Elm-Commerce alignment seemed most attractive for its potential economic benefits. While two major public transportation projects in the same area may seem redundant, the subway and the streetcar lines will serve different rider populations. The streetcar is expected to serve local downtown residents, while the subway is aimed at transporting commuters who live further outside the city center. As these projects are nearing consensus, detailed planning will begin for their exact locations, budgets, and urban effects.  
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Gordon Bunshaft’s modernist tower is newest Dallas landmark

This week Dallas is celebrating its newest landmark, a goodie but not an oldie.

The Landmark Commission voted on Monday to designate One Main Place, designed by SOM's Gordon Bunshaft, as the city's newest landmark. Beyond its waffled exterior, the 48-year-old International Style tower houses 19 floors of offices and a Westin Hotel spread out over its 33 stories.

Usually, buildings have to be at least 50 years old to be considered for landmarking, but officials made an exception for its high quality design and its singular place in Dallas's history. The New Orleans–based owners sought the designation for one particular reason: historic preservation tax credits.

The gridded concrete and granite building, though, is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to its designation report, One Main Place was supposed to be part of a three-phase redevelopment of downtown Dallas that was proposed in the 1960s. That superblock scheme, which would have replaced downtown with Corbusian Cities of Tomorrow, was never realized in full.

According to the Dallas Morning News, one preservation expert told the Landmark Commission that Bunshaft's building, like Dallas' pedestrian tunnels, merited protection because it reflects a specific approach to planning that prevailed in the city through the 1980s.

One Main Place is "the center and genesis of the tunnel system," said Jay Firsching, a senior historic preservation specialist at Architexas. That system was proposed by Vincent Ponte, the Montreal urban planner behind his city's famous tunnels that keep pedestrians out of the cold during long Quebec winters.

To become official, though, the landmark still needs the Plan Commission and City Council's approvals.

Back east, Bunshaft's SOM designs are getting recognition by another landmarks commission: In 2015, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission added 28 Liberty, an office tower and plaza in Manhattan's Financial District, to its roster of protected modernist buildings.

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Dallas approves construction of a new 3-acre park in former downtown parking lot

Joni Mitchell, Dallas has heard you. The City Council of Dallas has decided to un-pave a 3.2-acre parking lot—in place since 1921—and put up a paradise in the form of Pacific Plaza Park. Nonprofit Parks for Downtown Dallas has been trying to swap hard top for green space in Dallas for several years. The group originally proposed donating $35 million to the city to fund the construction of four new parks in Downtown, including Pacific Plaza, with the caveat that the city would match them with $35 million to get the job done. When for-profit 4P Partners proposed building an underground parking garage topped with a park on the site, located off Pacific Avenue, Parks for Downtown Dallas decided to shift around their funds and provide one hundred percent of the construction costs for the park. This move helped expedite the project. HKS Architects, whose offices are located in One Dallas Center adjacent to the site, also made a donation for the park’s construction. Landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm SWA Group was tapped to design the project in early 2016. They approached the park from the perspective of the neighborhood, holding two public “envisioning sessions” to gauge the needs of the community before they began their designs. The main desires were for social connectivity and, of course, access to nature. With this in mind, SWA allocated an acre of open green space as the central portion of the park, flanked by rows of shade trees intended to buffer the park from its bustling surroundings. Live oaks original to Aston Park, a small park already on the site, will be absorbed into the landscape to preserve existing foliage. Walking paths weave through the trees and encircle the green space. A 670-foot-long stone seating wall, deemed the “thread,” helps stitch the various spaces of the park together. Additionally, a halo-shaped structure anchors the southwest corner and provides an opportunity for seating, shade, and socializing. Construction on the park is scheduled to begin in early 2018 and is expected to last 12 to 18 months. Although it has been a long fight to get Pacific Plaza Park underway, Parks for Downtown Dallas is still pursuing its proposal for three other parks in the Downtown as well. “Quality ‘green space’ is an asset wherever it is found,” said Chuck McDaniel, SWA Dallas managing principal. “During the next few years, there will be a chain of parks throughout downtown Dallas that will work together to cool the air, enhance the aesthetics of our city, and make downtown an even more livable and walkable place.” To learn more about the Pacific Plaza Park and the Parks for Downtown Dallas organization, you can visit their website here.
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Four mega-developments near Dallas make up the Five Billion Dollar Mile

With the recent wave of corporate office growth, Frisco, a city at the intersection of the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121, has seen a number of large developments take shape over the past five years. With Toyota as the most recent and highly publicized to lead the pack by announcing its relocation of its North American headquarters, the area is quickly becoming host to large corporate campuses.

The Star in Frisco, designed by Gensler’s Dallas office, is the first to reach a milestone completion with the opening of the Ford Center, a 12,000-seat indoor field connected to an outdoor Dallas Cowboys’ practice field featuring an expansive glazed curtain wall. With the Ford Center’s completion in 2016, the development has greatly impacted the vitality of the region and the local community. The City of Frisco and the eight schools that make up the Frisco Independent School District will utilize the new Cowboy’s practice facility. “The Star has been a catalyst development for the five billion dollar mile,” said Scott Armstrong, senior associate with Gensler. “Since the completion of the Cowboys’ facility, the real estate development in the surrounding area has gained exponential traction.” Over the next two years, The Star will add an Omni Hotel and additional retail space; a Baylor, Scott & White Health facility will be completed on the remainder of the site.

Other projects are slowly gaining momentum: The $1.5 billion Frisco Station began construction in October of last year. The 242-acredevelopment spearheaded by Hillwood Properties will add nearly six million square feet of new office space with an accompanying mixed-use program, including a 40-acre medical park, 2,400 apartments, 300,000 square feet of retail, and 650 hotel rooms.

Meanwhile, The Gate, a 41-acre luxury development under the direction of Dubai’s Invest Group Overseas, continues to search for investment to partner in the $700 million project.

Wade Park, the largest development of the four, has seen some site work although construction has yet to take place. According to a November 2016 article by Dallas Morning News, the project’s first phase that would feature a large retail component was postponed with completion set for 2018. Its website lists signed tenants such as Whole Foods, iPic Theaters, and Pinstripes bowling.

Just off the Five Billion Dollar Mile, another project provides a contrast to the Mile’s predictable designs. One Legacy West will make a minimalist design statement amongst the horizon. “Given the context we, and our client, the Gaedeke Group, chose to differentiate One Legacy West through an architecture that is simple, ordered, and restrained,” said Mark Dilworth of Morrison Dilworth + Walls. From a 15- by 15-foot column grid, the firm developed a strict logic where the final outcome is a cube in and of itself. The move renders the architecture simultaneously iconic, as it is functional and flexible for the tenants. It is one of the rare, architecturally rich projects in the area based solely upon form. One Legacy West will be complete by mid-2017.

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This Dallas cafe and craft cocktail bar bucks every hipster design stereotype

Quick: Picture a hipster coffee shop. If reclaimed wood and Edison bulbs came to mind, there are two Dallas architects that would like to treat your eyes to something completely different.

”For Houndstooth Coffee, we were very consciously trying to break the trend of that typical hipster coffee shop,” said Mark Leveno, cofounding principal of OFFICIAL. “We were going for something a little more sophisticated.”

Although the Sylvan Avenue location is Houndstooth’s fourth, it doesn’t have a chain-like visual identity so Mark and partner Amy Wynne Leveno were given freedom to design down to the very last detail. Better yet, Houndstooth owner Sean Henry asked the firm to extend its ideas to Jettison, a sister cocktail bar in the same building.

The interiors offered substantial volume, allowing OFFICIAL to calibrate the sense of scale in the day-and-night spaces. “We looked at the whole space in section first to create a cafe and bar that were different, but related,” Amy said. That thinking is most evident up top: To balance the 16-foot-plus ceilings with a cafe coziness, the architects designed a “cloud” over the Houndstooth coffee bar to conceal the mechanical equipment. In Jettison, the mirror is a recessed “celestial void” lighting scheme made of painted gold trusses—and acts as a plenum space for the air conditioner. Concentrating mechanical functions in this way allowed the architects to keep the trusses in both spaces clean; the bright white Houndstooth ceiling foils Jettison’s sleek velvet finishes.

The cafe’s focal point, a circular service counter, would look right at home in a real bar—and that’s on purpose. Houndstooth is serious about coffee; baristas are as well versed in their brews and beans as they are in the perfect pour. Laptop-toting young people and families have a choice of seating: There’s a patio, communal tables, and stadium seating in the form of double-tiered oak benches that kids like to climb on.

Being Dallas, there’s opportunity for outdoor drinking. The patio was a “weird throwaway space” that came with the building, but the architects adopted it into their vision with a bold houndstooth-patterned screen that casts great shadows as it separates patrons from a busy road.

The concept is OFFICIAL’s, down to the fixtures and furnishings. The firm designed and fabricated the wall-mounted matte-gold metal lights that cantilever bare bulbs above the tables in Houndstooth, as well as the lean, vertical, perforated fixture mounted to the barside wall in Jettison. The duo always looks for opportunities for custom work: Along with to oak tables in Houndstooth and the Spanish cedar tables on the patio, Mark and Amy have created pieces that could work in other spaces, like a light fixture they designed for a client’s house in Austin. (“Every architect has a chair, so we’re trying something different,” said Mark.)

“It’s fun seeing this location on social media,” he added. “Typically people take pictures of their coffee, but they’re also taking pictures of the space, engaging with the architecture.” Both bar and coffee shop opened in July 2016, and so far the internet agrees: “Would have to say this is the best-designed coffee shop in Dallas,” said Google user Jeremy Turner. And not an Edison bulb in sight.

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Dallas gets an architecture and urban design–focused high school

The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) approved plans to create a high school tailored for students interested in pursuing a career in architecture and urban design. In a proposal led by Peter Goldstein, an experienced architect and longtime DISD educator, and architect Lorena Toffer of Hoefer Wysocki Architects, CityLab will establish a four-year program in Downtown Dallas to explore design projects and topics as it pertains to global and local issues. “The idea is to use the city as a classroom, and to create a school where learning extends beyond the walls of the school and into the community itself,” Goldstein said.

The program, slated to begin in fall 2017, comes at a time where the Dallas community is actively vocal in a number of issues, from rapid transit expansion to historic preservation. Such a dialogue is ripe for students to explore and contribute at a very early stage in their professional development. “Dallas is a thriving, dynamic city that is growing at a very rapid pace; it is an ideal place for students to examine the nature and characteristics of urban life, and to become part of the process as our city continues to grow and evolve,” Goldstein said.

The school has and will continue to be built on collaborations between educators and members of the design industry. Students will see this impact within their studio-focused curriculum, from early conceptual development of ideas to dealing with various client and consultants groups. Goldstein explained, “The idea is to give students the opportunity to work side-by-side with design professionals and industry experts as they explore real-world problems and challenges, while developing a multidisciplinary understanding of the natural world, the built environment, and the social and economic systems of the city.”

More information on CityLab, as well as the team instrumental in creating the program, can be found on the “CityLab HS” Facebook page.

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Striking gold accents fill Dallas’s Houndstooth Coffee and Jettison Cocktail Bar

Like a flawless shoe that tones down—or turns up—a look, Dallas-based OFFICIAL has transformed a 2,100-square-foot space into a day-to-evening cafe-bar whose design cements the brand of a well-loved Texas coffee shop. While Houndstooth Coffee’s fourth location is a sun-flooded, airy space, its sibling cocktail bar, Jettison, occupies a velvety nook in the same building. The bar’s lower ceilings are punctuated by a celestial gold-painted and trussed cavity that releases just the right amount of mood lighting into the space while providing clever coverage for the HVAC system. Custom fabrication shapes the space top-to-bottom: The perf wall light next to the bar was designed and fabricated locally by Mark and Amy Wynne Leveno, OFFICIAL’s cofounding principals. To complement the geometry of the fixtures and ceiling element, a textured dark-gray curtain along the exterior wall softens the space and brings the focus to conversations around the bar and central communal table.

Houndstooth Coffee and Jettison Cocktail Bar 1878 Sylvan Avenue, Dallas Tel 214-238-2643 Designer: OFFICIAL

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Dallas Holocaust Museum inches toward construction

In late October, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum announced a series of steps to push a proposed new museum building into reality. With over two-thirds of funding secured, the museum launched a “Building a Foundation of Hope” capital campaign to raise the final portion of the $61 million budget needed to start construction.

The 50,000-square-foot structure will be built in Dallas’s West End neighborhood near Houston Street and the DART Rail corridor along Pacific Avenue. The property, which currently serves as a parking lot, will be transformed into a public building that will accommodate more than 200,000 visitors per year and nearly quadruple the amount of exhibition space that the museum currently boasts within its existing facility. “We are limited in the number of visitors we can see at one time, and many schools and thousands of students are not able to visit as their class sizes are too large for our current museum,” said Frank Risch who serves as the campaign co-chair for the new museum. “We have been forced to move many of our events to other venues.” The museum, awarded an Unbuilt Design Award by AIA Dallas in 2015, will take two years to complete from the start of construction.

The building, designed by Omniplan Architects, will serve as a vessel for remembering the Holocaust and its victims and will also extend the dialogue to human rights in modern America. “We need a place that allows us to have a discussion about what human rights, diversity, and respect for others mean for our city today,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings during the announcement of the capital campaign. Permanent exhibitions, under the direction of Michael Berenbaum, who served as the project director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., will feature engaging galleries and content as well as expanded resources and archives. The designers seek to engage the public in a manner that creates individual experiences, allowing one to connect with the museum in a very personal way.

Beyond the physical and metric constraints that drove the concept, the Holocaust Museum will fulfill a message that has been understated in the community, especially in the context of recent attacks. “At a time when Texas leads the nation in the number of active hate groups, and the Dallas community is still healing from the July 7 attack on local law enforcement officers, the most violent and hateful act against law enforcement officers since 9/11, we believe the mission of the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is more important than ever,” said museum president and CEO Mary Pat Higgins.

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Philip Johnson’s Cathedral of Hope vandalized in Dallas over LGBT row

Philip Johnson's Cathedral of Hope in Dallas was vandalized yesterday morning. A police investigation is underway and it is suspected that the vandals targeted the building—Johnson's last before his passing—due to comments made by The Reverend Dr. Neil G Cazares-Thomas on local conservative radio where he dismissed links between the LGBT community and pedophilia. On their Facebook page, one can read the Cathedral's response: “The radio interviewer kept pushing the notion that LGBT people are linked somehow to pedophilia,” said Reverend Thomas, Senior Pastor. “There is a big difference between sexual orientation and pedophilia,” Cazares-Thomas responded. “The church does not support sexual exploitation of any kind, including child exploitation,” he said.
The vandalism in question occurred at 8 a.m. yesterday morning and says "kitty porn" and gives details of a name, cell number, and make of a car. The Chapel made a statement on a Facebook post:
As a Christian community, we are called to pray for those responsible for this act. We will work with Dallas Police Department in their investigations and use this opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and child exploitation. As a nation and as a world we must call on all people of faith to reclaim the moral center and distance ourselves from acts of violence and hatred. A temporary fix over the graffiti has been done today but a more permanent fix will cost tens of thousands of dollars for this world-renowned building. “We live in a world filled with hate. If your religion causes you to hate, you ought to get a new religion”, Cazares-Thomas concluded.
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One landscape architect’s plan to fuse Dallas–Fort Worth’s waterways with urban growth

In March 2013, Kevin Sloan, founder of Dallas-based landscape architecture and urban planning firm Kevin Sloan Studio, attended a lecture at the Dallas Museum of Art at which professor Kenneth Frampton, of Columbia University, recited a phrase that had been illicitly written in the 1980s on a rendering of a 1950s utopian city displayed at the New York Museum of Modern Art:

There are no cities anymore.

We are incapable of making cities anymore.

The machine is incapable of making cities anymore.

We’ll have to get used to living in the jungle.

Sloan is working on the Branch Waters Network. The concept is to make use of the waterway system in Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) as a guideline for a new metropolitan urbanism. Back in 2013, he recognized Frampton’s use of the word “jungle” as more than just a metaphor (although DFW is one of the largest cities in the United States for the trapping, banding, and study of urban wildcats). He interpreted it as a hint that the landscape and waterways could dovetail into the urban framework of a city.

Sloan wants to make use of DFW’s “water branches,” which span approximately 65 miles east to west and 45 miles north to south. He has outlined more than 300 potential miles of waterway that are primed for development. Sloan points out that more than 90 percent of natural drainage ways in Dallas County are currently intact and untapped. So far, his plan has been well received: According to Sloan, a current Dallas council member called it the “most sustainable concept he’s yet seen for the Dallas Trinity River.”

Successful examples of his water branch concept in practice can be seen at Turtle Creek Parkway, White Rock Lake, and the ongoing Trinity River Project. Part of city planner George Kessler’s 1911 “City Plan for Dallas,” the seven-mile-long Turtle Creek Parkway is, in Sloan’s eyes, “a 100-year demonstration that nature can attract density in accordance with the edges of shaded and serene waterway.

“What is astonishing is that, in Texas, luxury and the good life are typically imagined to unfold on an expansive ranch or noble estate,” continued Sloan. “Turtle Creek Parkway produced high-rise apartments and condominiums, as early as the 1960s, that gathered along the edge and are supported by nodes and enclaves of shopping and residential neighborhoods such as the Park Cities.”

For his Branch Waters Network concept to work, Sloan argues that Americans’ preconceptions of planning and notions of “nature” need to be challenged. He advocates replacing the “cultural preference for an Anglican landscape of irrigated turf grass, clipped hedge, and parterres—where all live like squires on a patch of England” with a “re-wilding nature project along the waterways and attendant areas. The forest is out one door. The avenue and the culture of the city are out the other.”

“Whether ‘nature’ means living on a golf course, along a river, or in the mountainous environs of, say, Boulder, Colorado, one can draw a straight line between environments of natural beauty and economic value,” he continued.

Sloan also calls for an alternative to Daniel Burnham’s “Make no little plans.” “What is a plausible strategy to guide an orderly restructuring of millions of acres of unplanned growth?” Sloan asked.

He and his studio have seen two projects realized that align with the Branch Waters concept. Located in Addison, north of Dallas, spring-fed Vitruvian Park—which occupies 17 acres, as part of an 112-acre master plan, also done by Sloan—lies on Farmers Branch Creek. So far, during its eight-year existence, the project has been what many consider a success, establishing a dense, urban pocket without the daunting qualities of a downtown center.

Another project, the Dallas Urban Reserve, is also doing well. A stone’s throw away from White Rock Creek Trail, the 10.5-acre modern housing development made use of a site that was used for years as an illegal dumping ground. The site slopes asymmetrically to allow stormwater to enter a system of repetitive filtration beds, planted with bald cypress, pond cypress, and horsetail reeds. Only three of the original 50 housing lots that went up are still available, and, in 2011, the project won the ASLA Award of Excellence.

However, Sloan wants the Branch Waters Network to go further. “By using the entire waterway network as a natural attraction to form density, transit, and linkages, perhaps the anxiety and opposition to conventional planning, regulatory devices, and legislative actions can be circumvented,” he said. 

“The possibilities of the Branch Waters Network challenge architecture conventions. Chance operation replaces totalizing planning concepts and designs. In lieu of regulating plans and inflexible determinism, urbanism becomes a game, and the game is to aggregate along the branches.”

This article was part of our Oct. 12 issue which focused on how water is shaping today’s landscape architecture and urbanism. Communities face deluges and droughts—for some, the stakes can be survival itself, but others see opportunities for decadence. To explore these stories from around the U.S. and the world, click here.

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Weiss/Manfredi’s Marion Weiss on “surface presence” in facades

"Surface Presence," the title of WEISS/MANFREDI cofounder Marion Weiss' upcoming keynote presentation at Facades+Dallas, "captures the essence" of the firm's recent investigation of the facade as more than skin, she said. "We've been very preoccupied in our own projects with landscape, topography, sequence, section, and movement." "The idea of section and movement has often been obscured in the facade," explained Weiss. But if sequence, section, and movement can instead be revealed by or encoded in the building envelope, "we could also look at the facade as something not so much tied to reductionist modernist ideals of what glass can be—that is, transparent." Among the six projects Weiss will highlight in her talk are three that treat glass "as a material that has a presence, that has a life": the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, the Novartis Office Building, and Barnard College Diana Center. WEISS/MANFREDI has also explored the surface potential of materials beyond glass. For the just-dedicated Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design, the architects worked with brick maker Belden to apply ancient technology to a custom pattern that inverts the usual focus on the ground plane. The facade of the Marshall Family Performing Arts Center near Dallas similarly examines the "tug between section and surface," said Weiss, through a combination of earth-colored brick and fritted glass. Finally, said Weiss, the fifth facade—the roof—has the capacity to act as a "chameleon," as at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center. There, the rooftop garden, overlaid on a glassy conservatory roof, expresses the "tension between complete transparency and the surface of the ever-changing medium of the roof," she explained. Hear more from Weiss and other thought leaders in high-performance facade design at Facades+Dallas. Register now to secure one of the few spaces remaining.
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GFF’s Brian Kuper on seamless facade design and fabrication

Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can turn an architectural challenge into an opportunity. Such was the case for Dallas-based GFF, which hired a crop of new design school graduates earlier this decade—just in time to deliver an innovative solution to a seemingly prosaic problem. The problem involved enclosing a bridging element between two parts of a Burnet Marketplace, a mixed-use project in north Austin. The solution, courtesy of one of the new hires, was to streamline design and fabrication using Rhino’s parametric modeling capabilities. Upon seeing the young designer’s presentation on some of the digital design skills he had learned in school, recalled Design Director Brian Kuper, GFF’s more experienced staff thought “this is an opportunity to use parametric design, and Rhino specifically, to not only design a sun control and space-capturing system that we could model in-house for the client, but to go straight to fabrication with our documents rather than take a more traditional approach.” Kuper plans to tell the story of the Burnet Marketplace project in a panel on “Getting it Built: Overcoming Design, Time, and Budget Concerns” at next month’s Facades+ Dallas conference. GFF completed the design work and sent the documentation directly to the fabricator in Austin. The fabricator then water jet cut the aluminum components. Relatively speaking, the entire cycle was complete in a snap. “Something that could have taken a lot of time and effort was really seamless,” said Kuper. “It also gave the message that younger folks have the ability to participate in and impact the design process.” Hear more from Kuper and other facades pros at Facades+ Dallas. See the conference website to register for the symposium and a lab or dialog workshop of your choice.