​Civic Works: Iconic Dallas Landmarks Rethinking Design in Texas

Civic Works: Iconic Dallas landmarks rethinking Texas design

© Ivan Baan





Dallas is home to a high concentration of buildings by world-famous architects. With some of the most iconic architecture per square mile in any American city, Dallas features designs by six Pritzker Prize winners, all located in close proximity to the burgeoning Arts District. From Norman Foster’s Opera House to the Thom Mayne Museum of Nature and Science, these projects represent a larger city-wide design culture.

© Jason O'Rear© Ivan Baan© Alan Karchmer© Casey Dunn+ 11

© Ivan Baan© Ivan Baan

In addition to the Arts District, Dallas offers numerous projects that simultaneously explore the possibilities of public space, programming and new construction methods. The city is full of modern projects and features notable landmarks and examples of historic 21st century architecture. Dallas is part of the largest inland metropolis in the United States and is merging with Fort Worth to house works by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn and Eero Saarinen.

The following collection delves deeper into the city’s emerging architecture, exploring contemporary projects across Dallas and their approach to bourgeois design. Designed by architects and firms from around the world, the collection features bold formal steps and carefully crafted experiences based on the dynamic, expansive nature of Dallas.

© Jason O'Rear© Jason O’Rear

While no building can ever depict the inhumane injustices that occurred during the Holocaust, it can certainly be a vessel for meaningful portrayal of the effects, human experiences and realities to ultimately influence effective social change. The new Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum, dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and promoting human rights, is located in the historic West End neighborhood of downtown Dallas.

© Casey Dunn© Casey Dunn

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens offer exquisite scenery and facilities that offer educational and cultural programs for all ages and make a significant contribution to the Dallas community. In the first phase of its expansion, the new, 8-hectare children’s adventure garden extends the northern end of the arboretum and enlivens a previously undeveloped and steeply sloping part of the site.

Courtesy of Foster + PartnersCourtesy of Foster + Partners

The new Winspear Opera House in Dallas is redefining the essence of an opera house for the 21st century and breaking down barriers to bring opera to a wider audience. In response to the Dallas climate, generous sunshades extend from the building and sit beneath a fully glazed, 60-foot-high lobby. This creates a direct relationship between inside and outside and increases transparency.

© Ivan Baan© Ivan Baan

The Dallas Theater Center (DTC) is known for its innovative work, the result of constant experimentation in its leadership, and the makeshift nature of its long-standing home. DTC was housed in the Arts District Theater, a derelict metal shed that freed its resident businesses from the constraints of a fixed stage configuration and the need not to damage expensive interior fittings. The new theater had to create the same freedoms created by the makeshift nature of its former home.

© Charles Davis Smith© Charles Davis Smith

The Charlotte and Donald Test Pavilion is a 3,700-square-foot, multi-purpose space on A Tasteful Place in the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society. The complex looks out onto a 3.5 hectare garden with fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. A demonstration kitchen in the pavilion serves as a location for cooking classes, demonstrations, educational programs and special events for adults and children.

© Alan Karchmer© Alan Karchmer

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is an integral part of the city of Dallas’ urban renewal efforts, but it is also the first Calatrava vehicle bridge built in the US. His concept of connecting the city’s two riversides through a series of dramatic bridges and boardwalks over a flooded lake environment was aimed at revitalizing this underutilized resource in the heart of the city and creating a recreational facility as important to Dallas as it is Central Park to New York City.

© Ivan Baan© Ivan Baan

Museums, fittings for collective social experience and cultural expression, present new ways of interpreting the world. They contain knowledge, retain information and convey ideas; They stimulate curiosity, raise awareness and create opportunities for exchange. As tools of education and social change, museums have the potential to shape our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live.

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