All photos courtesy of Plano Magazine.

All photos courtesy of Plano Magazine. Photos by Jennifer Shertzer.

The Collinwood House is the oldest structure still standing in the city of Plano, and it faces demolition to make way for a structure in a new park.

The 1860’s era house sits on city land being developed for a 124-acre park, which will include hike-and-bike trails, a dog park, and parking spaces. Plano officials are planning to tear down the Collinwood house to build a recreational pavilion.

The only thing that can save the historically significant house at 5400 Windhaven Dr. is if Plano City Council intervenes.

Collinwood House

Original hand hewn timbers and square nails peek out from under the brick skirting added in the 1940s; Concentric tree rings can be seen, accentuated by weathering at the ends of the two timbers.

“The Collinwood House is an extremely significant house due to the fact that it is the oldest house remaining in Plano dating back to the 1860s, still sits on its original site, and is an outstanding example of the rare Gothic Revival style of residential architecture,” said David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas. “The city of Plano has been progressive in other areas of historic preservation in the city and hope that can extend to saving the irreplaceable Collinwood House—they have a great treasure with the Collinwood House and they need to work to save such an important piece of Texas’ history from being lost.”

Candace Fountoulakis, a board member for Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, has been very involved in efforts to save this property. There have been multiple calls from the Plano City Council for RFPs, none of which have been accepted.

“The more we learn about it, the more we find out it’s a unique, rare, and special look into that era of Plano’s history and we don’t have anything like that left,” Fountoulakis said. “ It’s a huge learning experience, a picture of early frontier history and when you stand in there and look at it, it’s a visceral experience.”

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alicia quintansIn our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the last one here).

Alicia Quintans

Alicia Chandler Quintans, AIA

Alicia Chandler Quintans, AIA, is an Oak Cliff-based architect, interior designer, and preservationist. She founded JQAQ Atelier in 2012, a small design firm focused on solving modern design challenges for residential and commercial projects.

She graduated from UT Arlington School of Architecture in 1991, where she met her husband Joel, a collaborative partner for JQAQ Atelier and the Creative Director for UTA.

The summer after graduating, they stayed at a professor friend’s home in Oak Cliff, and fell in love with this southern borough of Dallas. The couple found a small, 1947 minimal traditional house in Beckley Club Estates.

“After almost 25 years, the house has transformed into a laboratory for ideas,” Quintans said. “We’ve updated the kitchen and bath, installed energy-efficient features, and added a studio on the property to serve as a workshop and guesthouse. The property evolves to suit our needs and interests.”

She’s a board member of both Old Oak Cliff Conservation League and Preservation Dallas, actively assisting in educating and strengthening historic connections between local communities, neighborhoods, and the built environment.

“By learning the history and sharing stories of collective memory, we better understand the sense of place in our community and provide an emotional connection, represented in form by our built environment,” she said.

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In September 2014, Headington Companies began razing a 129-year-old building in downtown Dallas, and proceeded to demolish almost an entire block of historic storefronts along Main and Elm streets. Photo: Harry Wilonsky/Dallas Morning News

In September 2014, Headington Companies tore down a 129-year-old downtown Dallas building as part of the development of The Joule, also demolishing almost an entire block of historic properties nearby. Photo: Harry Wilonsky, Dallas Morning News

Last September, the Dallas preservation community let out a collective gasp as an entire block of century-old buildings was demolished by Headington Companies as part of the Joule’s expansion plans. Because of the way historic preservation is handled in Dallas, there was no time to discuss alternatives with the bulldozers or the company that employed them. They rolled into place and had their work done in a week.

At the time of the razing, Dallas Morning News Architecture Critic Mark Lamster wrote a scathing column, We regret to inform you that your city has been destroyed, calling the demos “acts of vandalism.” Preservation Dallas, a 43-year-old nonprofit dedicated to the protection and revitalization of the city’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, and places, called it “wanton destruction.”

But out of that surprising event (Headington Companies had received a Preservation Dallas award just the year before), a conversation started about how we take care of our historic buildings in Dallas, particularly in downtown.

“We shouldn’t be able to demolish a 100-year-old building in a matter of a couple of days,” said Katherine Seale, the former executive director of Preservation Dallas and chairman of the Downtown Historic Preservation Task Force, which was authorized by Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings in response to the demolitions.

Seale chose the 11 members of the task force, with includes members from the development, preservation, design, and planning communities, as well as city hall. They have been meeting since January to discuss what changes need to happen to the way Dallas does preservation to better protect our city’s history.

“Historic buildings are downtown’s greatest asset,” Seale said. “They should be treated like precious infrastructure.”

With the task force’s recommendations, approved yesterday, they just might be. They voted on nine recommendations (the executive summary is at the bottom of this post) to take place in incremental stages. Those recommendations will go before the Dallas City Council for approval in coming months.

“I couldn’t be more pleased—it was unanimous,” Seale said. “It’s an incredible outcome from a broad base of people that represent different interests and they all agreed on the recommendations.”

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Photo courtesy Charles Henry via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Charles Henry via Creative Commons

In our culture of “bigger, better, newer, faster,” historic theaters may well be one of America’s most endangered buildings.

There are at least 160 of these beauties in the Lone Star State, once the center of a city’s entertainment district. But now these Arcadias, Palaces, Majestics, Paramounts, and Pioneers often sit in states of disrepair.

Some municipalities or private groups have stepped up and renovated these architectural treasures, like the Pines Theater in Lufkin, the Historic Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff, and the Crighton Theatre in Conroe.

But all too often, these buildings are demolished to make way for new development that looks flashier and brings in more rent per square foot.

In Odessa, the Ector Theatre is at the center of just such a situation now, with a proposal to make it part of a new downtown hotel and convention center, a $73 million project. Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital, a real estate investment company, made the proposal for development of the area that would include retaining the historic Ector image, but details are sparse.

Check out the whole story over on MidlandDirt.com!

 

 

Photo courtesy Oak Cliff Blog

The clock is ticking for the old Mission Motel in West Dallas as Trammell Crow Residential begins work on a new development on the site and adjoining lots, which will include 300 rental units, as well as 14,000 square feet of retail space.

“We are tearing it down. We just finished asbestos abatement and will start demo soon,” said Matthew Enzler, Managing Director for Development at Trammell Crow Residential.

We reported on the developer’s purchase of the Mission Motel last July. Over the holidays, the developer tore down an old bank at Fort Worth Avenue and Yorktown Street. The Mission Motel and two other nearby properties will also be cleared soon, Juan’s Body & Frame and Nino’s Body Shop. Jump to read more.

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Ruth Carter Stevenson House

Yikes. This dramatic episode sounds a lot like Mark and Patricia Lovvorn’s campaign to take a wrecking ball to Stanley Marcus’ historic Nonesuch Road home. Except, well, preservationists were actually able to stop the owners from tearing down that house.

The modernist former home of Ruth Carter Stevenson, daughter of Star-Telegram publisher Amon G. Carter, was demolished over the weekend. No matter the loud opposition from architecture lovers and preservationists, the Harwell Hamilton Harris-designed “modernist gem” was razed. What a terrible pity, says Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster:

The demolition came as preservationists sought to spare the house. The owners, identified in the Star-Telegram as Ardon and Iris Moore of Fort Worth, preemptively destroyed the house before a campaign could be mounted in its defense, an act of brazen philistinism. The Moores could not be reached for comment.

The future of the house became uncertain in January, following the death of Ms. Carter Stevenson, one of Fort Worth’s most prominent arts patrons, at the age of 89. ”I’m really amazed that the estate let it be sold to someone whose intention was almost certain to tear the house down,” said Mark Gunderson, a Fort Worth architect and friend of Ms. Stevenson. ”It’s inconceivable to me that a new owner would do that.”

Seriously, with how popular 1950s-era modern architecture is today, I can only call this act incredibly short-sighted. I know they have every right to do what they want with their real estate, but why buy what was a treasure of Midcentury Modern design only to tear it down. That I cannot comprehend.

Ruth Carter Stevenson Philip Johnson

 

(Photo: Ruth Carter Stevenson and Amon Carter Museum designer Philip Johnson, Texas Society of Architects)

Lest you believe the carnage is over, former home of Amon Carter Sr., the Bomar-Carter home just feet away, is slated for demolition, too. Here’s what Gunderson thinks of that:

 … it’s “inconceivable that a city would allow the demolition of the 100-plus-year-old home of its foremost civic supporter of the early 20th century while expressing allegiance to the city’s ‘heritage.’”

 

Ruth Carter Stevenson House

Yikes. This dramatic episode sounds a lot like Mark and Patricia Lovvorn’s campaign to take a wrecking ball to Stanley Marcus’ historic Nonesuch Road home. Except, well, preservationists were actually able to stop the owners from tearing down that house.

The modernist former home of Ruth Carter Stevenson, daughter of Star-Telegram publisher Amon G. Carter, was demolished over the weekend. No matter the loud opposition from architecture lovers and preservationists, the Harwell Hamilton Harris-designed “modernist gem” was razed. What a terrible pity, says Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster:

The demolition came as preservationists sought to spare the house. The owners, identified in the Star-Telegram as Ardon and Iris Moore of Fort Worth, preemptively destroyed the house before a campaign could be mounted in its defense, an act of brazen philistinism. The Moores could not be reached for comment.

The future of the house became uncertain in January, following the death of Ms. Carter Stevenson, one of Fort Worth’s most prominent arts patrons, at the age of 89. ”I’m really amazed that the estate let it be sold to someone whose intention was almost certain to tear the house down,” said Mark Gunderson, a Fort Worth architect and friend of Ms. Stevenson. ”It’s inconceivable to me that a new owner would do that.”

Seriously, with how popular 1950s-era modern architecture is today, I can only call this act incredibly short-sighted. I know they have every right to do what they want with their real estate, but why buy what was a treasure of Midcentury Modern design only to tear it down. That I cannot comprehend.

Ruth Carter Stevenson Philip Johnson

 

(Photo: Ruth Carter Stevenson and Amon Carter Museum designer Philip Johnson, Texas Society of Architects)

Lest you believe the carnage is over, former home of Amon Carter Sr., the Bomar-Carter home just feet away, is slated for demolition, too. Here’s what Gunderson thinks of that:

 … it’s “inconceivable that a city would allow the demolition of the 100-plus-year-old home of its foremost civic supporter of the early 20th century while expressing allegiance to the city’s ‘heritage.’”