The AD EX — formerly the Dallas Center for Architecture — launched its new digs at Republic Center to go with its new name Dec. 8. (Photo: Craig D. Blackmon, FAIA)

There’s a new spot for your architecture and design fix in downtown Dallas from a source you’ll recognize. The AD EX — formerly the Dallas Center for Architecture and short for The Architecture and Design Exchange — had its official launch on Saturday, Dec. 8. The organization held the celebration with Downtown Dallas Inc. and the Better Block Foundation in its new digs located at Republic Center, which is near Thanks-Giving Square. Even with the new name and location, the Ad Ex will have the same great programming, including diverse exhibits, weekly free Lunch Learning Sessions, and guided architecture tours.

If you’re already intrigued, you can stop by between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with late and weekend hours of 8 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Photo: Craig D. Blackmon, FAIA

(more…)

Proposed Oakland A’s stadium. Source: Bjarke Ingels Group

I was in Silicon Valley last week while plans for the new Oakland A’s ballpark were revealed. Between the numbers and images flying around, I got to thinking about Rangers’ stadium taking shape in Arlington.

I’ll stop right here and say that the last baseball game I attended was a Chicago Cubs’ game (against lord knows who) in the late 1980s (I was a plus-one good friend). I’ve never cared for sports or the foam-fingered, face-painted, booze-sopped civic pride they engender.  So please don’t take this column as some sort of shot at baseball – this is about creating useful architecture.

First, it’s interesting that the in-person audience for professional baseball appears to be shrinking. Ranger’s Stadium is slimming from 48,114 seats to an estimated ~42,000. The Oakland A’s are also proposing a smaller, 34,000-seat stadium – their current digs seat 63,000 and were shared with the departing Oakland Raiders.

(more…)

From Staff Reports

On Thursday, Nov. 15, members of the Dallas Pacesetters – a select group of 30 Dallas-area Realtors from various brokerages – gathered over boxed lunches at 3504 Marquette Street in University Park to listen to nationally acclaimed local architect, Richard Drummond Davis. Davis, who trained at Princeton University under renowned post-modernist Michael Graves, spoke on “Trends and Residential Design.” Though he has a reputation for authentic period architecture, his early career focused on eclectic designs, blending classical forms with contemporary use of space.

Richard Drummond Davis

One such example of an eclectic Davis project was, not coincidentally, the meeting site on Marquette, which is also a current listing of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agents and Pacesetters, Paige and Curt Elliott. Davis explained the thought process behind the 1984 home’s 5,184-square-foot “meandering” floor plan. Conversations can be had across multiple rooms, including from the lofted game room down to the main living/dining space.

“We consciously tried to make it flow from room to room,” said Davis. “The open plan was intended to be that way. Back then, everyone in Dallas was still doing discrete rooms in houses and pretty much doing only American Colonial architecture, classical Georgian and Greek Revival architecture.”

In that respect, the four-bedroom, five-bath home somewhat defied the norms of the time.

(more…)

FAB Studio

Fairmont Manakoba Resort Mexico

I give Dallas grief for building a lot (A LOT) of bad, boring architecture. For those following my train of thought, there’s the semi-regular series Why Can’t Dallas Have Nice Things where I feature international architects who do great work but who have never worked in Dallas. Well, last week I met with the Frank Butler, the president of Dallas’ FAB Studio. Never heard of them? Not surprising as they’ve not worked in Dallas! Ha!

The bread and butter of this firm is swanky resorts where you may have lain your head. Looking at their portfolio, I realized that I had (for the record, Four Seasons Troon North in Scottsdale). Why am I talking about them?  Because they are about to do some high-profile work in Dallas and you should see the caliber of their work. And no, it’s not a bunch of high-rises.

(more…)

It’s not mere hyperbole — the worlds of architecture, urban planning, and construction are lacking in representation of people of color.

In fact, the American Institute of Architect’s 2016 “Diversity in the Profession of Architecture” found that the one thing most architects — regardless of race — could agree on was that people of color are underrepresented in that field. Similar studies have found the same is true in urban planning and construction.

(graph courtesy AIA)

Interestingly, just about every discussion in all three industries regarding diversity involves strengthening the industry’s presence among students through outreach programs with high schools, etc.

Michael Ford, a Detroit-based architect, brought the whole issue of diversity to the forefront with a 20 minute TED Talk last year. In his talk, he uses lyrics in hip-hop songs to show how they can serve as a very effective way to evaluate the good and bad of modern urban architecture. (more…)

Back in 2000, Urban Realm, a Scottish architecture magazine, launched an annual award for the worst new architecture in Scotland. Called the Carbuncle Award, it inspired UK magazine Building Design to craft the Carbuncle Cup beginning in 2006 for “the ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last 12 months.” 

I’m sure had there been a Carbuncle prize in China, the above “donut” office building would have certainly made the short list in 2015 from an overflowing number of examples of bad architecture. The donut is 33 stories tall and resembled old Chinese coins with holes in the middle. It also forms an “8” when reflected in the river – a very lucky number for the Chinese.

Given Dallas’ overwhelming pace of (often) cheap, bad architecture, I think a Carbuncle or two is in order. Keeping the “carbuncle” theme, I’m christening the Dallas award the Carbuncle Crown. In this first attempt/year, I’m going to ask for entries in two categories …

Ugliest Building in Dallas (regardless of year built – to catch us up)

Ugliest Building in Dallas 2018 (built in the past 12 months)

(more…)

MoMA Extension New York City (53 West 53rd Street)

French architect Jean Nouvel began designing buildings in the late 1960s with his first global success being the Arab World Institute building in Paris in 1981. That building captured the geometry inherent in Arabic architecture by using a lattice of multi-sized mechanical lenses on the exterior. The lenses’ job is to manage light entering the building by opening and closing depending on exterior light levels. Pretty ingenious.

Nouvel continues to work in the Arab world, crafting buildings denoting the region’s specific historical context and modern requirements. Nouvel has said buildings have a specific place and time. He would not design the same building for Doha, Qatar, that he would for New York, New York. Each location required connection and context. Looking over Nouvel’s work, it’s easy to see a focus on texture and light. He layers both with dramatic effect. Nouvel won the Pritzker Prize in 2009 and today his firm employs over 140 in Paris with satellites in Rome, Geneva, Madrid, and Barcelona.

But let’s look at New York City first …

(more…)

Heatherwick’s award-winning Rolling Bridge (2002)

I’ll admit Thomas Heatherwick’s name has skittered across my design radar for a while without really finding purchase. It was my look into his collaboration with Amsterdam-based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for a pair of Google headquarters buildings in London and Silicon Valley that caused my architectural stars to align on Heatherwick. Some of you may have seen his Provocations show at the Nasher in 2014.

Armchair Olympic hopefuls will have seen his work designing the flame and cauldron for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games. That design included a circular fan of “petals” representing each participating nation that were lit and mechanically raised into a cauldron – symbolically bringing together the member nations in competition (see the cauldron lighting ceremony).

The Rolling Bridge above was completed in 2004 as part of a revitalization of the Paddington Basin area of London. It’s one of two pedestrian bridges built within the mixed commercial-residential project. Both bridges are as much for art as utility. The other is called the Fan Bridge. It has five fan blades that open like an Asian fan (see both in action in two minutes).

(more…)