Zach Mortice summarizes the buildings and aspirations that are going into the District. Two interesting points. I hadn’t known that the city’s Performance Hall will be an add-on-as-money-permits design:
SOM’s City Performance Hall is organized as a series of sloping parallel concrete bands of varying heights and widths. Each band contains a single performance venue, which design partner Leigh Breslau, AIA, says will create easy-to-navigate circulation paths meant to aid the 70 groups that will use the building. As the only project in the center that is city-funded and dependent on bonds, Breslau says he designed it to be built as financing permits one section at a time, as a “continuous ribbon” that still maintains design coherence.
And Brad Coepfil, the designer of the new Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet, agrees with moi — the idea that the Arts District (and the accompanying Woodall Rodgers Park) will create an ‘urban pedestrian neighborhood’ is a bit of a stretch. For now, anyway:
Many hope the district will evolve into a pedestrian neighborhood of mixed-uses and artistic synergies in the middle of sprawl-laden Dallas. Arts district boosters say that having a public high school helps make the area an active community; housing and retail development should also prevent the district from becoming a cultural ghetto that empties out when the theaters are dark. But Cloepfil says it might be misguided to expect Jane Jacobs-style urbanism to sprout in north Texas, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Dallas might have to accept the arts district as a successful destination, not a way of life. “I’m trying to be a realist to other urban types,” he says. “I do think there are other models of urban success that we may not want to believe are successful.”