preservation issues for dallas

In 2015, the gorgeous Bud Oglesby-designed home at 10300 Strait Ln. was razed, one of many architecturally significant structures demolished in Dallas in recent years.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed the destruction of many Dallas historic buildings over the past several years. From the Bud Oglesby-designed home at 10300 Straight Ln. and the Trammell Crow Estate to the razing of an entire block of century-old buildings in downtown Dallas as part of the Joule’s expansion plans, it’s been brutal. And it’s nothing new — Dallas historic building have been biting the dust for decades in the name of new construction.

But perhaps the tides are changing. The last two decades have brought a huge shift in historic preservation across the country and in North Texas. People are more interest in the environment around them, both old and new, particularly in how buildings, landscapes, and places impact their lives.

Today, Dallas citizens are able to be increasingly involved in the decision-making processes that determines what their surroundings look like and how it will affect them. Preservation issues for Dallas are getting noticed by some leaders.

Though much progress has been made in the city, it’s got a long way to go. Updated and improved tools are needed to guide future development and preservation efforts.

A panel next week will examine how our city can make informed decisions to create a good foundation on which to build a better future.

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Dallas is experiencing phenomenal inner city growth. Neighborhoods like Oak Cliff, the Trinity River Corridor, Deep Ellum, Ross Avenue, and the Design District are seeing urban infill like never before, showing up in all scales and types.

inner city growth

Robert Meckfessel, FAIA

These changes are remaking the city and opening up new opportunities for residents and businesses alike. But when we look at housing, retail, restaurants, office, and streetscapes, what are the traits that make for good infill and connectivity for these areas?

These are the questions posed for the next Dallas Architecture Forum event, a panel presented in collaboration with Preservation Dallas called Remaking the City.

The event will be moderated by Robert McFessel, FAIA, President of DSGN Associates and past president of leading organizations involved with the quality of the built environment, including the Dallas Architecture Forum, Preservation Dallas, LaReunion TX, and AIA Dallas.

McFessel currently serves on the boards of LaReunion TX, The Trinity Trust, Trinity Commons Foundation, DoCoMoMo U.S., Greater Dallas Planning Council, and the Advisory Board of the Dallas Architecture Forum.

Panelists include:

  • Edwin Cabannis: Owner of the Kessler Theater
  • Katherine Seale: Chair of the City of Dallas Landmark Commission and Past Director of Preservation Dallas
  • Evan Sheets: Senior Urban Designer at Dallas City Design Studio
  • Dan Shipley, FAIA: Founder and Principal at Shipley Architects

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Let's just say that this rendering of the Trinity Tollway is never, ever going to happen. It's going to be bigger, uglier, and it's going to need more elevated feeders. One of those, the Jefferson Memorial , might completely cut off West Dallas from North Oak Cliff.

Could we actually end up with a Trinity parkway that doesn’t completely obliterate the park that Dallas so desperately wants?

Perhaps we could actually end up with the winding, picturesque, four-lane parkway that was in the original Balanced Vision Plan for the Trinity River? At least, that is what could happen if Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas City Council actually listen to the groundswell of opposition against the proposed Trinity Tollroad alignment that would make the road a mammoth elevated highway reliever.

But even Rawling’s own Trinity “Dream Team” is against that idea. Passionately so, it seems, as Larry Beasley pretty much destroyed the existing plans for the NTTA-managed tollway plans at the Trinity Commons Foundation luncheon.

And now the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects is giving Beasley a proverbial “AMEN!” from the pews. Jump for the full statement.

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Dusk Skyline

Past, meet future.

It’s just incredible how often we think and talk about the destiny of our city and how it is tied to the Trinity River. The discussion we’re having about this natural resource that bisects Dallas, some of them behind closed doors, isn’t a new one. In fact, we’ve been talking about the Trinity River’s influence since at least 1967, when Rob Perryman, an Austin writer and photographer, took 8,000 photos of our downtown and turned them into a narrated 40-minute movie called “The Walls Are Rising.” It was a commision of the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, whose goal was to spur development through awareness.

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