Klyde Warren Park: Dallas’ New Landmark

Designed by the Office of James Burnett, the 5.2-acre Klyde Warren Park — the deck park over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway — creates a welcome urban green space over the recessed freeway between Pearl and St. Paul Streets in the center of the Dallas. Among the aspirations of designers and downtown advocates is for the park to promote increased pedestrian, trolley and bicycle use between Uptown, Downtown and the adjacent Arts District, contributing to a more walkable city center.

Bisected by the existing Olive Street bridge, the park is organized by a pedestrian promenade that begins at its southwestern corner, drawing downtown visitors through the park past a botanical garden, a children’s garden with an interactive water feature, a reading room, and an event lawn. A large public plaza connects the restaurant terrace, the performance pavilion, and the casual take-out pavilion to the street. The pedestrian promenade continues beyond the plaza and connects to a series of intimate garden courtyards, a dog park, and a signature interactive water feature that anchors the park along Pearl Street.

“Klyde” will create a front lawn for the surrounding cultural institutions, including the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas Museum of Art, Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Hall, Nasher Sculpture Center, Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual & Performing Arts and the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It is anticipated that increased foot traffic from the park will serve as a catalyst for the vitality of the Arts District and for street-level business opportunities.

The $110-million project was funded through a public-private partnership. Public support included $20 million in bond funds from the City of Dallas, $20 million in highway funds from the state, and $16.7 million in stimulus funds. The balance of funding is through individual donations directly to the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, including a $10-million gift from Dallas executive and philanthropist Kelcy Warren, who named the park in honor of his son, fourth-grader Klyde Warren. The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation will operate and manage the park, which is planned to be a hub of activity with four to five events per day. Programming will be free and ranges from yoga and bootcamp to movie nights and outdoor concerts.

Construction on the deck — a feat of engineering and design — began in October 2009. The sustainable landscaping that followed includes 37 native plant species and 322 trees, transforming a former open freeway into a natural urban oasis.

Published in Texas Architect, January/February 2013

Attendees of the Texas Society of Architects Second Annual Design Conference will visit the Klyde Warren Park in February 2013.