Symphony House IHOTW

Walking through Architect George C.T. Woo’s “Symphony House” in University Park is like reading a good book, and one you can’t judge by its cover. That’s on purpose. Woo likes a good surprise as much as anyone. So he created a subtle façade that does very little to prepare you for having your proverbial socks knocked off the moment you enter the front door.

3636 University

Woo is known for his work with I.M Pei on The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. He lived in this home at 3636 University Boulevard while working with Pei on the project. He founded his architectural firm, George C.T. Woo & Partners, in Dallas in 1986. Woo also worked on the design of Dallas City Hall and The Lipscomb House in Cedar Hill. His residential and commercial projects span the globe.

You can imagine the detail and craftsmanship an architect puts into their own home—it’s off the charts.

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Urban Reserve IHOTW 2

Our Inwood House of the Week is a modern home on the range built for a man and his dog. Yes, we’re serious — and we’re dog people at CandysDirt.com, so we’re loving this tale about 84 Vanguard Way in Urban Reserve.

“This was a custom build for a single male client … and his dog,” Scott Marek of Marek Architecture said. “He loves his dog and he thought this lot would be a great place for them both as it opens right into a public park.” Talk about endless Frisbee opportunities.

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Inwood-HOTW-Malabar-1024x768
First of all, love affair: me and JanMar. Note to husband and world: Do not be surprised if I end up there someday.

Janmar was developed in the late 50’s, early 60’s. Named after the developer’s daughters, Janet and Margaret, you basically have Bluffview east of Hillcrest: hills, water, and Buffalo Creek, which flows to White Rock Lake. It doesn’t feel like any other part of the city. Because of the creeks, the area is loaded with animals such as the usual possums, coyotes, but also great horned owls, great blue herons, hawks, and even a bobcat or two, which very well may have crossed over Hillcrest to our Ricks Circle. Truth be told, bobcats are everywhere in this town from Oak Cliff to Richardson and beyond.

Because of the time period in which it was developed, natural mid-century design abounds here, the most notable of course being Dallas’ Not-Really-By-Bruce-Goff Round House. (Long story.) And because those were the style of homes that were being built when I was growing up, I feel so much at home here. Have I ever told you about Bruce Goff’s REAL “Round House” in Aurora, Illinois? My cousins lived down the street and we rode bikes there all the time. Can you believe it only cost $64,000 to build?:Round House Aurora, Ill.

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Chris-Craft-House

The Chris Craft House, designed by architect Vince Snyder, at 22 Vanguard Way in Urban Reserve, the brainchild of Dallas developer Diane Cheatham.

Dallas developer Diane Cheatham is a dedicated modernist and committed environmentalist.

As CEO of Urban Edge Developers, Ltd., Cheatham has brought those values to her work in multiple settings, from small infill condos and townhomes that won multiple design awards, to her masterpiece at Urban Reserve, a signature modern neighborhood that uses sustainable features creatively.

Diane Cheatham

Diane Cheatham

It’s a trend she’s happy to say is showing up more in North Texas.

“I see more developers and builders responding to consumer demand by building modern and green,” Cheatham said. “The style is much more accepted in Dallas now, and a growing segment of homebuyers are interested in green building and a more modern aesthetic. I’d like to see more developers thinking out of the box, providing more options at all price levels.”

Cheatham envisions and creates enclaves that are both eco-friendly and people-friendly. At Urban Reserve, for example, a reservoir that gets neighborhood run-off water is used to irrigate common spaces and individual lawns. Every house is required to have LEED-H certification. Her own house at 1 Vanguard Way, which she shares with her husband Chuck, has geothermal heating and cooling, energy-saving windows, and an 18,000-gallon cistern that collects rain runoff from the roof. Homeowners in the community are encouraged “not to do the standard Dallas fences,” and many of the homes feature indoor-outdoor living spaces that encourage interaction with neighbors and passers-by.

These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Urban Reserve has earned multiple recognition and awards, like the 2007 Dallas AIA Excellence in Sustainable Design, 2007 CLIDE Award (Celebrating Leadership in Development Excellence), and a 2009 award from Eco-Structure Magazine, where Urban Reserve was distinguished as one of seven innovative projects.

All this took rule-breaking by Cheatham as she customized street widths to slow traffic, created rain gardens and retention ponds, and made the basic infrastructure and layout of the development conducive to her overall vision.

“It’s taken longer than expected, but there are only six lots of the 50 left and work is proceeding on six homes with eight more in various stages of design,” she said. “The realization of Urban Reserve has been the hardest [of all my projects], and as it nears completion, it is also the most satisfying. Being out there on the cutting edge proved to be more complicated than I anticipated.”

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