Texas Modern masterpiece

How would you like to live in the heart of Highland Park and yet be so completely concealed from sight, your privacy is absolute? Take a peek behind the tall hedges of 3212 Dartmouth Avenue for a glimpse of a Texas Modern masterpiece with a rare provenance.

The legendary architect Frank Welch originally designed this home in 1978. As if that’s not enough to turn your head and make your heart flutter, this Texas Modern masterpiece was reinvented about ten years ago, by another famous Texan — AIA award-winning architect Max Levy.

In the 1970s, architects were pushing the envelope all over America. We saw the construction of innovative styles like Shed and A-Frame homes. It was an exciting time in architecture, and there were plenty of clients eager to be on the cutting edge. We’re lucky in Dallas that not only do some of these homes still stand, but owners maintain and improve the designs. One of the boldest moves made with this property was capturing the lot next door. Rather than expanding the home, the owner added to the privacy and sanctuary-like feel with stunning gardens.

That privacy was thoughtfully constructed by internationally-recognized landscape architect David Hocker, principal of Hocker Design Group (HDG). Hocker is noted for indigenous gardens. If you have been in Dallas for any length of time and value landscape design, you’ll know Hocker for his award-winning work on the 1926 Dallas Power & Light electrical substation which became an indoor and outdoor art exhibition space, guest artist’s residence, and not-for-profit organization.

There are so many things I love about this Texas Modern masterpiece, and the backstory is one of them. Listing agent David Griffin told me the current owner was looking at high-rises and could not find anything that suited him.

Then he saw this Texas Modern masterpiece.
Texas Modern

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Amangiri Resort & Spa, Kane County, Utah. (Photo Courtesy of the Architect)

Rick Joy

Rick Joy, founder of Rick Joy Architects (Studio Rick Joy), will speak at the Dallas Architecture Forum‘s Second Annual Frank Welch Memorial Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Horchow Auditorium at the Dallas Museum of Art. Joy’s renowned Tucson, Arizona, firm is recognized for sensitive, thoughtful approaches to site, observation, process, landscape, and building, with projects ranging from trend-setting single-family homes to large-scale resort projects throughout the globe. 

Joy’s designs offer a striking parallel to Frank Welch‘s body of work. Welch, who died in 2017, worked under the tutelage of the legendary O’Neil Ford and was considered one of the most recognizable and prolific among Texas Modernist architects. Dallas is home to a significant number of Frank Welch designs, which painstakingly incorporate the natural surrounding elements to create a harmony between site and structure. Many of these homes have hosted Dallas Architecture Forum events. 

“All of our studio’s work is rooted in developing an understanding of a ‘place’ and how the house design will be integrated in harmony to its surroundings,” Joy told CandysDirt.com. “We investigate the ‘culture’ of other well-designed buildings in the area, and use that as a basis to develop a design appropriate to the natural environment of that site.”

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A cold front during our Texas summer means temperatures in the 80s this weekend — which has us thinking of outdoor living and all its possibilities. 

So for this week’s CandysDirt.com Open Houses of the Week, we’re focusing on DFW open houses that feature grand outdoor spaces in one form or another. These are three fabulous properties, including one designed by Texas Modern architect Frank Welch. They range in price from $559,000 to $975,000. Which ones will you visit? 

 

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Frank Welch Honored with Inagural Memorial Lecture by Architect Ted Flato | CandysDirt.com

Hillside House living room by Ted Flato in Austin, TX. Flato will give the inagural Frank Welch memorial lecture on Jan. 30. Photo: Aaron Leitz

Known as the dean of Texas architecture, Frank Welch was a prolific and imminently talented architect who spent a half century designing schools, churches, commercial buildings, and homes in Dallas, Midland, and Odessa. 

Ted Flato, FAIA

Welch died last June at the age of 90 and the Dallas Architecture Forum has established the Frank Welch Memorial Lecture to be presented each season as a part of its lecture series. The inaugural lecture will be given Jan. 30 by Ted Flato, FAIA, Co-Founder of Lake Flato Architects, one of the most honored and respected architecture firms in the country.

“The architectural philosophy and outstanding award-winning work of Ted Flato make him the perfect choice to present the [lecture],” said Forum Executive Director Nate Eudaly. “Like Frank Welch, Ted Flato designs projects that are shaped by the opportunities and challenges presented by their environments, and he seeks to create a seamless connection between interior spaces and the surrounding outdoors.”

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Greenway Parks has earned acclaim from architects and loyalty from its residents. Allie Beth Allman Realtor Maribeth Peters explains why.

Greenway Parks is one of those neighborhoods you never want to leave, and frankly that’s why it can be challenging to find a home here. With approximately 300 houses, which are often passed down from one generation to the next, it’s often hard for a newcomer to get a foot in the proverbial door.

The neighborhood is full of architecturally significant homes in every imaginable style, from Charles Dilbeck’s Spanish Eclectic to Max Levy’s cutting-edge modernist.

Greenway Parks is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Dallas, and it is going through a major transformation right now,” Maribeth Peters of Allie Beth Allman & Associates said. “This renaissance consists of new construction and major remodeling of existing historic homes. Since Greenway Parks was designated a Conservation District in 2003, all architectural plans must be reviewed by the city, but that has not slowed the neighborhood evolution.”

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Ward House (2004) on Farquhar Lane – Patron Tour House sponsored by Becky Frey Real Estate Group (Photos: Charles Davis Smith, AIA)

By Donovan Westover
Special Contributor

We are honored to attribute an entire Preservation Dallas home tour to Frank Welch on October 28.  I was fortunate to meet Frank many many moons ago and develop an alliance with him, as everybody in his life did.  What’s not to like?  He was intriguing, he did not pass up a drink, he had linguistic flair (he cussed, like me) and I enjoyed his colorful observations.  In his later years, I recollect shuttling him around for a project when Frank dropped another classic:

“I have the worst vision, but I can tell you that house is Goddamn ugly.”

Linguistic.

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Tricia Weiner and Frank Welch

There is one thing I always want to know when an agent tells me about a cool listing — especially a celebrity listing: how did you get it? Often the agent knows the celeb owner, is related, or has an interesting story that shows how connections can lead to listings.

Tricia Weiner, who is listing the Frank Welch house on Cragmont, has known Frank for years and has a very interesting story to tell about their relationship: turns out Frank was very paternal. And his idea of lunch was a sandwich in a bag. (more…)

It’s funny how my life in Dallas has always had a connection to Northern Hills. Years ago, when we were in our thirties, friends owned a brick bungalow on Cragmont. Then my son became friends with the son of a friend who I had known in college, and she and her husband lived on Cragmont. Little did I know that the times we spent at those homes, I was passing by and probably parking in front of, the future home of one of the greatest architects of our time, Frank D. Welch.

Frank died in June, at the age of 90.

Often called the Dean of Texas Architecture, Welch, much like his mentor O’Neil Ford, explored and expanded a tradition of modernism in Texas’ landscapes, materials, style, and culture.  His many Dallas residences (including that of two dear friends in Preston Hollow) blend warmth with sophistication. They are contemporary buildings that engage with their environments without screaming they are doing it, yet they are clean, crisp, stylish and, like the product of an architectural geniuse, display meticulous attention to detail, obsessive choice of materials (only the best), and an atmosphere of peaceful humanity through spacial design.

You just felt a beautiful peace in a Frank Welch home.

And so it is with his own home, hitting the MLS on September 25.

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