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Friday Fun: Surf's Up!

Friday Fun: Surf's Up!

In conjunction with our photography exhibition The Birth of Surf: The 1960's and 1970's Documentary Surf Photography of LeRoy Grannis, we researched Dallas best "surf spots."  Places to cool off or just catch a mid-century vibe.  For the next two Fridays, we'll share them with you.

First off, some background on Grannis and the exhibition:

In the early 1960s in Hermosa Beach, California, surfer and amateur photographer LeRoy Grannis began documenting the burgeoning surfing scene along the Southern California coast.  This exhibition captures surfing’s golden years and the entire surfing lifestyle in California and Hawaii, including the fashions, landscapes and architecture.  Our exhibition (NOW EXTENDED THROUGH SEPTEMBER 22) is organized by independent curator Cynthia Mulcahy.

Here in Dallas, we don’t have many opportunities to surf.  (Is that a part of the Trinity River plan?)  That said, inspired by the exhibition, we wanted to give you a list of architecturally significant sites in North Texas to explore on your own.  Some are around water and some simply capture the “vibe” of the late 1950’s and 1960’s.  So, hang ten and go adventuring! This weekend is a great time to start.

Fountain Place, 1986
1445 Ross Avenue
I.M Pei & Partners (New York); Harry Weese & Associates (Chicago); WZMH; Dan Kiley (Charlotte, Vermont), landscape architect

Sheathed in shimmering green glass reminiscent of the sea, this is the most extraordinary of Pei’s three Dallas towers built during the 1980’s.  The six-acre plaza and beautiful water garden surrounding the tower is one of the great urban spaces in America.

Statler Hilton, 1956
1915 Commerce Street
William Tabler (New York)

This prow-shaped hotel would look almost as at home on Waikiki Beach as it does in downtown Dallas.  When it was completed in 1956, the 1,000 room Statler Hilton was the city’s most sensational modern building…and perhaps the country’s first truly “modern” hotel.  With George Dahl’s 1953 Dallas Public Library next door, this is the best block of 1950’s architecture in Dallas.  Unfortunately, the Statler Hilton has been on both Preservation Dallas’ and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Most Endangered List.

The Esplanade at Fair Park, 1936
George Dahl

One of the city’s most dramatic water features is the Reflecting Basin at Fair Park, even more so due to its surroundings.  Fair Park is the world’s largest collection of 1930’s Art Deco exposition buildings, built in 1936 for the 100th anniversary of Texas’ independence from Mexico. In recent years, the complex has undergone renovation of its buildings, outdoor sculptures and murals.  Currently, the Esplanade itself is undergoing an extensive renovation which will result in the recreation of  a two monumental Art Deco statues and a synchronized light, water and music show inspired by the fountains of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

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