The Hidden Architectural Wonders of Downtown Dallas
J.Ay Cantrell, architecture teacher and artist at Skyline High School, started Architectural Walking Tours through downtown Dallas a few months ago. The tour quickly gained popularity. I rely on the 400+ likes on his Facebook page and the many pedestrians who stopped Cantrell on the street during our tour to say: “Hey, you’re the guy who does this architecture tour, aren’t you ? “
We started our hour and a half hike on a cold Saturday afternoon. Cantrell met everyone at Pegasus Plaza on Main Street and Akard Street because it’s the focal point of DFW. It’s also in close proximity to all five buildings we visited.
After waiting a few minutes longer to see who else would show up and endure the cool winds for a love of architecture, Cantrell led us down the street to the front of the Magnolia Hotel. For each building he made us stop and take a look outside. Cantrell pointed out all possible stylistic elements and explained changes or renovations since the beginning of the 20th century. He taught us a lot.
Look up – and be amazed
I’ve lived in Dallas for most of my life, so during the tour I spent a lot of time thinking about why I hardly ever looked up. I had walked the downtown streets many times, but it never took me a moment to notice how many amazing historic buildings Dallas actually has. I was told I was going on a mission so maybe that’s why I missed so much. Cantrell’s tour slowed me down and gave me the information I needed to look up and appreciate.
Cantrell took us inside the magnolia tree to show us what architectural elements are still there. Except for the area near the elevators, there has been a lot of renovation. The ceiling remains intact and features intricate and beautiful designs. It’s a shame the rest of the interior was “modernized” in the 1990s.
We then crossed the street to the Adolphus Hotel. I had never been to the building before. It had to be one of the nicest hotel interiors I’ve ever seen. We took a look at the French Room and Cantrell had many interesting details to report on various aspects of the hotel’s pre-renovation. But I won’t reveal anything. Renovation work had been carried out again.
The original exterior (still incredible) was added when the hotel was expanded and is reflected in the contrasting modern elements of the new section. Still, this was my favorite.
Next we stopped at the Kirby building, a residential tower. We have an exclusive view of the basement and the roof of this one. The basement has an old bank vault and the roof offers a breathtaking view of the city center. The joule is another hotspot on the list. The mosaics were salvaged by billionaire owner Tim Headington and are located on the entire first floor of the building.
The last time we looked at the Wilson Building, a historic eight-story apartment complex. It was modeled after the Paris Grand Opera House and has a restaurant, just like many buildings in Europe.
Tours run on Saturday and Sunday and cost $ 20. Cantrell is also working on adding tours of the east and west ends of downtown. Tickets are sold through Eventbrite and can be found on its Facebook page.