2010: The Year in Dallas Architecture

We didn’t have a Burj Khalifa built here in Dallas, but we had our own 2010 architecturalhappenings.  Here’s a look back:

The beginnings of an economic recovery—or at least the perceptions ofsuch—were a boon to a hurting architecture and building sector.  Dormant projects were given new life: the Fain Johnson-designed Museum Towerbegan construction in the parking lot between the Nasher and Meyerson.  On the other hand, economic weakness didn’tseem to faze two non-profits:  First Baptist Church began demolitionof several of its older buildings on the way to an entirely rethought campusdesigned by the Beck Group.  And greatprogress has already been made on the Perot Museum of Nature and Science; ThomMayne’s bold design (which just won the American Architecture Award) will addanother Pritzker Prize winner to Dallas’architectural crown.

There are several other large projects that we’ll have to wait on.  First on pace for completion is SantiagoCalatrava’s Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in 2011.  Then 2012 brings us the Park over WoodallRodgers Freeway and the completion of City Performance Hall, the final venue inthe AT&T Performing Arts Center. A complete redo of Parkland Hospitalwill keep HDR and Corgan busy until 2014.

(And ATTPAC, by the way, was fodder and food for thought for many of usduring 2010.  Are the Center and theDistrict around it working as they should? What must we continue to do to turn the largest urban arts district inthe country into a vital and active neighborhood?  Here’s betting that conversation continuesfor the next several years.)

Other architectural developments happened at City Hall, and will havesignificant impact in the years to come. In June, the Dallas City Council voted unanimously to pass an amendmentallowing court-ordered demolitions of local historic landmarks that representan urban nuisance.  Two years ago, theinitial ordinance amendment was intended to make it easier, less expensive, andfaster for City Hall to demolish properties considered to be an urban nuisancein historic districts.  However, therewas concern on the part of Preservation Dallas and others that the ordinancewould be too sweeping, eliminate existing safeguards, and therefore put somehistoric structures – particularly famed downtown buildings – at risk of aquick demolition.  The final ordinancethat was adopted ensures a reasonable level of protection for historicstructures and provides a mechanism for interested parties to save theseendangered buildings.

Meanwhile, there continues to be talk of adaptive reuse plans forarchitectural favorites like the Statler Hilton and 508 Park.  Will 2011 be their year?  We’ll wait and see.

Another ordinance came down in 2009, and2010 saw architectsand developers learning more and discovering its effects. The Green BuildingOrdinance is intended to lead to a reduced carbon footprint for all new andremodeled construction. Many of the key criteria of the ordinance originatefrom the US Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED rating system.  Phase I isalready in effect with Phase II going into effect on October 1,2011.  Another one to watch and see what happens…


The Dallas Architecture Forum continued to bring the bestand brightest to Dallas,including architects Jeanne Gang and Alberto Kalach and architecturalphotographer Tim Hursley.  Here at the Dallas Centerfor Architecture we celebrated local architects old (Ju-Nel Homes) and new (AIADallas Design Award winners) and launched a new walking tour through the MainStreet District.


Here’s to a 2011 full of good design, smart urban planningand an even more livable city!

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