2010 In Review: The Best in Dallas Architecture

While we didn’t have a Burj Khalifa built here in Dallas this year, we had our own architectural happenings in 2010. Here’s a look back:

The Museum Tower is in the heart of the Arts District

The beginnings of an economic recovery – or at least the perception of one – have been a boon to a hurting architecture and construction sector. Dormant projects received new life, such as the Museum tower designed by Fain Johnsonwho began building the parking lot between the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Meyerson Symphony Center. On the other hand, the economic weakness didn’t seem to affect two nonprofits: First Baptist Church Several older buildings were demolished on the way to a campus designed by the Beck Group. Great progress has been made on the site Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Thom Maynes The bold design of the museum (pictured above), which has just won the American Architecture Award, will add another Pritzker Prize winner to the Dallas architectural crown.

A representation of the new First Baptist Campus in downtown Dallas

There are some other big projects that we have to wait for. On pace for completion is Santiago Calatravas Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in 2011. Then 2012 brings us the Park on Woodall Rodgers Freeway and the completion of City Performance Hall, the final venue at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. A full iteration of Parkland Hospital will keep HDR and Corgan employed until 2014.

The AT&T Performing Arts Center was also a reason for reflection for many of us in 2010. Are the center and the district around them working as they should? What else do we need to do to turn the country’s largest urban arts district into a vibrant and active neighborhood? The bet here is that the conversation will continue for the next few years.

Plans for the new Parkland campus

Further architectural developments took place in the town hall and will have a significant impact in the years to come. In June, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved an amendment to be passed judicial demolitions of local historical landmarks this is an urban nuisance. Two years ago, the original amendment to the ordinance was intended to make it easier for City Hall to demolish properties that are considered an urban nuisance in urban neighborhoods, cheaper and faster. Preservation Dallas and others feared that the ordinance could be too far-reaching, disrupting existing security, and putting some historic buildings – especially famous downtown buildings – in quick demolition. The final regulation that has been adopted ensures an adequate level of protection for historic structures and provides interested parties with a mechanism to rescue these endangered buildings.

In the meantime, people continue to talk about adaptive reuse plans for architecture favorites like that Statler Hilton and 508 park. Will 2011 be your year? We’ll wait and see.

Lots of talk but little action on the Statler Hilton (Photo by Elizabeth Lavin)

Another regulation was enacted in 2009, and in 2010 architects and developers learned more and discovered its effects. The regulation on environmentally friendly building should lead to a reduced carbon footprint for all new and converted constructions. Many of the regulation’s main criteria come from the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED rating system. Phase I is already in force, phase II will come into force on October 1, 2011. It’s another stage where you can watch and see what happens.

The Dallas Architecture Forum continued to bring the best and brightest to Dallas, including architects Jeanne Gang and Alberto Kalach and architecture photographer Tim Hursley. Here in Dallas Center for Architecture We celebrated old local architects (Ju-nel houses) and new (AIA Dallas Design Award winner) and started a new walking tour of the Main Street District.

To a year 2011 full of good design, intelligent urban planning and an even more livable city.

Greg Brown is the program director of the Dallas Center for Architecture.

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