The Dallas Center for Architecture has changed its name and expanded its vision, moving to a new location in downtown Dallas and setting its sights on being an integral part of the community.
DCFA is now AD EX, shorthand for The Architecture and Design Exchange. They are taking new roost in the historic midcentury architectural icon Republic Center with the goal of being both a physical space and mechanism for spurring conversation about walkability, mobility, historic preservation, affordable housing, economic development, and other civic challenges related to architecture and urban design that impact the city.
“Building on the momentum created over the past ten years, we look forward to AD EX becoming a critical force in an ever-growing conversation on the design and livability of our cities,” says Jan Blackmon, FAIA, executive director of The Architecture and Design Foundation and AIA Dallas. “We believe this storefront space in the middle of a new epicenter for downtown will give us opportunities to reach new audiences. Our hope is that AD EX will inspire our community to see its surroundings differently and imagine new possibilities for design as a solution.”
AD EX’s street-level location in the dense urban core of Dallas and adjacency to downtown’s next planned public park, Pacific Plaza, is intended to break down barriers and facilitate informal exchange of ideas about design and architecture. Its interior space, outside terrace, open floorplan, and floor-to-ceiling windows will showcase design-focused exhibitions, films, book and panel discussions, student workshops, policy symposia, and other programming.
The terrace’s outdoor programming is fully integrated with downtown life. AD EX sculptural branding defines the space and invites the public in. There is ample space for pop-up programming being planned in consultation with Better Block and a variety of community partners (conceptual ideas for bike racks and a portable amphitheater are shown.)
Inside, wall-mounted displays will be complemented by three-dimensional exhibitions featuring models, materials, and other artifacts. A commissioned video of Dallas’ design history is being planned. The glass “drum” surrounding the escalator in the Republic Center lobby is flanked by public seating. In consultation with Aurora, plans are underway for an art installation within the drum, visible from all sections of AD EX. The AD EX reception area will also house Downtown Dallas Inc.’s neighborhood information center, sharing happenings in the neighborhood and beyond.
The space-defining glass walls of the Design Learning Lab provide a dedicated, but inspiring space for a variety of smaller gatherings, including school groups and workshops, walking tour docent meetings, a resource library, and the opportunity for programming such as book talks and roundtable discussions.
As the headquarters for AIA Dallas, AD EX also serves as a work-away-from-work space and gathering area for industry members before their professional development seminars, chapter meetings, happy hours, or other programming. It also provides opportunities for member firms and Dallas architects to showcase their work to the community.