UNS’s vision for the Chicago Museum of Film and Cinematography
I usually let readers digest a “Why Can’t Dallas Have Nice Things” column before I post a fresh installment, but last night the Dallas Architecture Forum presented Christian Veddeler from Amsterdam-based United Network Studio (UNS). And Dallas really needs to see this firm’s work, if for no other reason than the questions that were asked at the session.
I won’t bore you with the questions, but the answers can be summed up as, “the reason Dallas has such boring architecture is because fantastic architecture requires developers with inspiration, a decent budget (though not always), and a local bench of talent (architects, engineers and craftspeople) capable of constructing such buildings.” Dallas, it seems, is starved of all three … well, unless a Dallasite needs an ego boost with a self-funded, self-named bridge, theater, museum or park. Which, don’t get me wrong, are great and every city needs them, but we also need great architecture in the profit-making world too. (Besides McKinney and Olive, the first in 40 years.)
The sculpture is thankful for such a beautiful home to look at all day.
Join the Dallas Architecture Forum at the Magnolia Theater on Wednesday, April 25, to hear Christian Veddeler, director of Amsterdam-based UNStudio, talk about the elements and systemic thinking required of good architecture. If you aren’t familiar with UNStudio, the private residence pictured above is tiny taste of their design chops. The firm, celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, has a portfolio stuffed with award-winning museums, municipal buildings, private residences, and my favorite, high-rises.
38-story, 200-room Lusail Hotel and 120 Residence: Lusail City, Qatar (complete 2020)
The Pritzker Architecture Prize, begun in 1979 by Hyatt Hotel heir Jay Pritzker, honored Zaha Hadid in 2004, becoming the first woman and Muslim to be recognized. It was hardly Hadid’s first or last award for her work. Her designs are radically angled, “There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?” That style earned Hadid the moniker “Queen of the Curve”.
Hadid, who died in 2016 at age 65, was born in Iraq and spent most of her life in the UK. Originally studying mathematics, she transferred to architecture in 1972 where she studied with Rem Koolhaus at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. While she hung out her architect’s shingle in 1980, she was always a teacher, having inspired students at Harvard, Cambridge, University of Chicago and Columbia University. That’s not to say she wasn’t prolific. She and her 400 staff have designed over 950 projects in 44 countries. The firm continues Hadid’s successes having received 31 awards in 2017 and eight awards so far in 2018.
Single Family Resale Median Prices
News media loves the biggest car crash, so during the Recession, Las Vegas and a few other cities were ever-present in the headlines of bad real estate news. The table above illustrates how deep the crater went and how far it’s returned to pre-Recession levels. For homebuyers in the market, you may have missed out on the gains from the depths of the market, but there is still room for building equity.
I say that because, as of March 2018, The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reports just over a month’s supply of homes on the market with roughly 30 percent fewer homes listed this past year (but 6.4 percent more condos). Couple that with a 15.7 percent year-over-year increase in single-family home sales prices and a 30.1 percent increase in condo prices. That translates into a median single-family home selling price of $280,000 and $160,000 for condos and townhomes. That compares with a historical average of 5 percent annual appreciation. All this activity and you’d think you were in Dallas.
Head over to SecondShelters.com for more on the Las Vegas real estate heatwave.
Council Member Gates enjoying a cuppa with constituents
Top Pot, a name that might evoke the hopes of an herb-aceous electorate, is alas just a coffee and “hand-forged” donut shop at the edge of Preston Hollow. Begun in Seattle, the city of coffee’s rebirth, there are three locations in Dallas. I wonder if Dallas leadership called out Top Pot for a “just like home” vibe in their Amazon HQ2 bid?
I was there at the crack of 9 a.m. on Saturday to attend a drop-in chat session hosted by the Preston Hollow East Homeowners Association (PHEHA). Council member Jennifer Gates was their special guest. Unlike more formal settings, this meeting was literally coffee and donuts, no set speech or presentation. It was an avenue for local residents to have a low-key interaction with their council person to discuss whatever was on their minds. Think of it as a cocktail party with caffeine and crullers instead of champagne and caviar. I’m sure other council members do this too, I’ve just never been invited.
Gates handled queries ranging from the city’s homeless problem to more local issues including neighborhood walkability, and, of course the PD-15 circus.
Source: Federal Reserve
Prices are up, property tax assessments are likely up, you’re rich, rich, rich … on paper. According to researchers Black Knight, as of the end of 2017, Americans have $5.4 trillion in “tappable” home equity, an increase of $735 billion from the end of 2016. Tappable means that while total home equity, according to the Federal Reserve, sits at $14.4 trillion, only $5.4 trillion would be available using loan products requiring 20 percent equity remain in the property.
Put in perspective, $5.4 trillion is about 10 percent more than in 2005, before everything went to shit. But there’s tappable and there’s tappable. Three quarters of that equity is also held in mortgages with rates lower than current rates. Of the $5.4 trillion, approximately half is held by property owners with at least a credit score of 760 (qualifying for the lower refinance rates).
Perhaps not dinner, but in many ways art feeds the soul. From the earliest to the latest, art transforms thoughts and ideas into physical form. But it can be expensive. For those not bothered by budgets, this coming weekend is the Dallas Art Fair that runs Thursday until Sunday downtown at f.i.g (Fashion Industry Gallery). Tickets are still available starting at $25 for a day pass ($20 if you’re too old or too young to pay $25) and topping out at $500 for a Patron pass.
If you’re like me, art events with a section titled “Works Under $10,000” and more “Contact Gallery for Price” than actual prices, it’s a window shopping outing. For example, Pedro Ruiz’s work (above) with large floral images punctuated by lone tribal figures on rafts are bold in color and subject (the appropriation of goods from native areas for the enrichment of the voracious and fickle West). Beautiful and moving, but too rich for me.
Homage to The Melrose (“oops” on all those cars in the rendering … foreshadowing?)
Last night’s Oak Lawn Committee meeting was a little more precise with their Robert’s Rules than prior meetings. Given the past few tense months (here, here), I’m not surprised that precision is being used to combat disruption. However, while not disruptive, one member seemed hell-bent on chucking the evening’s projects through the chute by calling for a vote on both projects presented with his first breath. Presenting projects and gaining support from the OLC isn’t a race nor a duty to be dispatched.
The first project is so far known as 2929 Oak Lawn Avenue, but Dallas folks will know it as the awful Office Depot next to the historic Melrose Hotel. The hotel, originally known as the Melrose Court Apartment and Hotel was built in 1924 and granted Dallas Landmark status in 1983. Prior to the hotel, the corner was the homestead of the Mellersh farm.