Texas Architect March/April 2010
Published by the Texas Society of Architects since 1950, the magazine has consistently showcased outstanding architectural design from around the state and chronicled significant events relevant to the profession.
Dallas Arts District: Past and Future
The reinvigorated Dallas Arts District provides a timely opportunity to feature performance venues around the state while highlighting the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre. Both are stunning additions to the downtown cultural enclave that has evolved over three decades through the roller coaster ride of the boom-bust economic cycle.
Designs of Trolley Stops Chosen For Dallas’ Bustling West Village
In the heart of the lively neighborhood called Uptown Dallas, the M-Line of the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority covers a 3.5-mile circuit with a fleet of preserved historic trolley cars. The vintage trolleys are an important link in an urban mass-transit system that connects Uptown Dallas with the downtown to the south, shuttling local residents and visitors to popular restaurants, shops, and night spots. At the upper reaches of Uptown is the live/work/play enclave known as West Village, located at the intersection of McKinney and Lemmon.
In many small towns across Central Texas, settled along the well-worn paths of nineteenth-century Czech, Polish, and German immigration routes, one of the most prominent landmarks is the dance and/or community hall. These émigrés from Central Europe brought with them traditional, artisanal building crafts and, just as importantly, a powerful desire to reproduce and maintain their cultural heritage, from language to vernacular architectural styles.
The Importance of Public Space
In premodern cities, the architecture of the public domain – the temples, cathedrals, monuments and the deliberately shaped spaces around them – conferred status to citizens and communicated authority to the outside world. Central Park and Bryant Park in New York City; Golden Gate Park, Market Street and the Embarcadero in San Francisco; and the venerated Emerald Necklace in Boston are public spaces in more recent cities. In the best examples of all worlds, cities are continuous networks of humanized space.
A Generously Open House
Architect: Foster and Partners architect of record Kendall/Heaton Associates
This refreshing urbanistic quality was introduced to the Dallas Arts District in 1989 by I.M. Pei with his Meyerson Symphony Center, followed in 2003 by Renzo Piano with the Nasher Sculpture Center. More recently, two additions to the Arts District – the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House and the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater – both have gone a step further by making it concrete and tangible.
Amongst its many fountains, gardens, and playgrounds, Houston’s Hermann Park is playing host to 15 newly installed monumental sculptures that have transformed the grounds into a landscape of exploration. Made possible by the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts, the works by French sculptor Bernar Venet will remain on display until October. (Three Indeterminate Lines is shown at top; the inset shows Random Combination of Indeterminate Lines.)