Tuesday, November 23, 2010

City Scapes

In lieu of the past several months of blog posts, I want to share some of my snapshots for your viewing pleasure. I love this city and everywhere I turn the history of the city is looking back at me.

Magnolia Building (1922)

Thanksgiving Square (1976 Philip Johnson )

1700 Pacific Ave. with the Wilson building (1904) in the background
The Wilson building (1904) with the W.A. Greens water tower on the roof

What's left of the First Baptist church. (est 1908)

The Kirby building (1913) with the Magnolia behind it (1922)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Master Plan Cities: Animation

Designing sustainable cities, three aspects - three plans.
An animation short by Rods & Cones Film, depicting planning strategies in recent masterplans by Vandkunsten in collaboration with Hausenberg

An urban master planned neighborhood created from an old shipyard in Sweeden. The design firm Vandkunsten had this animation put together to show their design process. From start to finish the creation of walkable streetscapes that make for easy navigation through the neighborhood, the integration of public spaces within the existing structures and the sustainability of the area is carefully thought out and explained in the animation.

The firm specializes in sustainable building and also is focusing on the renewal of a suburban area in Denmark by tying in an existing recreational area with the rest of the city by expanding it and adding a "green activity zone" using paths that link one area to another. This creates unique neighborhood zones where each is diverse in it's relationship to the city and the surrounding landscape.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Only Room in the House

The Kitchen: Some would say the kitchen is most used room in the house. In a loft like ours, it's the only room in the house! With that in mind I knew pretty quickly after we moved in, that I wanted to change out the pink toned contractor grade back splash tiles that were installed in the kitchen before we purchased our loft.

Another thing that was missing was a proper pantry to put away bulk food items and storage of cans, cereal, and other kitchen supplies that just didn't fit above in the cabinets. So one late Friday evening, instead of taking advantage of my weekend, I "took advantage of my weekend" to work on the kitchen make over.

It began by ripping out all the existing tiles in the kitchen. This wasn't too hard, I used a metal chisel to remove the grout in between each tile to help loosen them up from their hold on the wall and each other. 
This process didn't seem too hard and all the tiles were coming out pretty smoothly, until I got to the sink area. Apparently the sheet rock behind the sink had some moisture because once I peeled off my first tile from that area, it started to take out chunks of sheet rock with it.

The next thing I did was even more unexpected, I left the kitchen as it was and went on vacation with my wife and kids for 4 days! After coming back into town and back to the loft, seeing the mess I've made, I had a renewed sense of urgency to get this project completed. (I have since learned: When contractors redo a tile back splash, they completely rip out every tile AND rip out all the sheet rock and install new sheet rock in it's place. This makes for an easier install and quicker turn around for clients. -note to self)

After reinstalling a few sheets of sheet rock I was ready to begin putting up the new tile. I got the tile on sale at Home Depot and installed it sheet by sheet being careful of matching the seams to make sure they were the invisible and that all grout lines were the same thickness as the tiles do shift a bit once in place on the wall.

After getting all the tile in place and completed I wanted to tackle the pantry cabinet issue. As you can see from the first picture we once used a simple birch colored cabinet to store some of our pantry items but needed more space and functionality. We knew we wanted to go with Ikea cabinets as they were the most affordable. Our current cabinets were from Home Depot and were American Woodmark not the most affordable for what we wanted to do.  So we decided to go with the AKURUM cabinet series but had to make some customizations for it to perfectly blend in with our kitchen.
We chose to go with the plain white cabinet doors since the Shaker style doors from Ikea didn't have the same look. Next I wanted a way to make these new, non-matching doors to be usable while at the same time hiding the fact that that we went the cheaper route with our selection. So I decided to use chalkboard paint to give the doors some texture and some color, while allowing us a place to write messages for each other, recipes, etc...  While this is not the newest idea, it did work for what we were doing, and we didn't go over the top and paint all the cabinets. Instead we just used it as an accent to better blend our kitchen together.

 Some finishing touches were to add some under cabinet lighting and some task lighting along the upper cabinets to shed some light on my next project, learning to cook. The final product allowed us to have more kitchen storage and usability which the loft desperately needed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

3 Kids 77 Square Feet

  How do you squeeze two not-so-young children, and a baby into 77 square feet? That was the question we faced after finding out we were expecting a third child in our modest 1300 sq ft. loft. After moving in almost three years ago, one thing became immediately apparent, there's no room for all our "stuff"? The problem was an even greater issue in the kids room, where their 7ft x 11ft room dimensions left little room for wasted space.

One thing we knew is that we'd have to take advantage of the 10.5ft ceiling height in the room. I drew up some plans, made a Google Sketchup draft of the room just to make sure the measurements worked out, and with the help of a friend, installed a wall to wall platform where my two older children Nick and Isabelle would sleep.

The powder coated metal ladder connects to the wall on hooks and can be pulled down and leaned against the platform for climbing up and down. The small dresser in the center of the two tall storage shelves will have a changing pad affixed to the top of it to double as a changing table. (we've got two more months until the baby's due. Didn't want to jump the gun anymore than I already have.)

The kids computer was neatly stowed away inside a European style metal folding wall desk. It perfectly stores their computer, games, and cables to make sure everything is out of sight when closed. The desk was also hung at a height that made it perfect for the tracker style rolling chair to slide right underneath when not in use in order to maximize free space in the room.

I found the artwork online and printed it out on heavy weight paper for framing. The final product was a fun way to add some unique art to the kids room that is both unexpected and "grown up" enough for them to relate to as they get older.

All in all, the project in the kids room taught us that you don't need a lot of square footage to make a space that's both usable and fun for our kids.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

5th Annual White Rock Home Tour

The area’s only all-modern home tour embarks on its fifth year of benefiting Blue Ribbon School Hexter Elementary with a wonderful display of mid-century modern homes and a sustainable home.
Architecture enthusiasts won’t want to miss the meet-and-greets with the architects and landscapers at the homes they designed.

To celebrate the tour’s five-year milestone, Advocate Magazine White Rock Home Tour presented by Micky Carr and Janelle Alcantara, David Griffin and Company Realtors, is staking claim to another first this year: it is curating a first-ever exhibition of Ju-Nel Homes artifacts and memorabilia to be displayed in April. It is also presenting a Ju-Nel Homes speaker's forum on April 23. Both events are hosted and co-presented by Dallas Center for Architecture.
Save $5. Buy in Advance.
Buy a home tour ticket at White Rock Coffee, Green Spot or neighboring Tom Thumb locations by April 25 and save $5.
First 300 event attendees get a free goodie bag!

Your Tickets Includes:
  • Tour 4 mid-century modern homes near White Rock Lake.
  • 2 of the 5 are Ju-Nel Homes. They were designed by Lyle Rowley and/or Jack Wilson, understudies of modern architecture pioneer Howard Meyer who built Dallas' acclaimed Temple Emmanu-el. We broke the Ju-Nel story on the first tour in 2006, and subsequently in a D Home story.
  • 1 of the 5 Homes is a "green" home designed by Alan Hoffmann, who D Magazine reported is a “green leader”.
  • Architect meet-and-greets

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Merriman Associates/Architects 2010 Grand Design Concept

Merriman Associates / Architects is located in downtown Dallas just across from the Akard Street DART station. Below is their newly released concept visualization of the Dallas Grand Hotel and surrounding Main Street Garden park. The Dallas Grand, formerly the Statler Hilton Hotel,was put on the 2008 list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This video showing the rendering of the hotel lobby and rooms are a hopeful sign that Merriman & Associates are bidding for the job of restoring the once majestic hotel to it's former glory.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Arts District Architecture Walking Tour

Date: April 3, 2010
Time: 10:00 AM
Location:  The tour departs from the ceremonial entrance of the Dallas Museum of Art on Harwood.
Details: The Dallas Arts District and the Dallas Center for Architecture are proud to present an architecture walking tour of the largest urban arts district in the United States.

Our 90-minute architecture walking tour is led by a trained tour guide and will examine buildings from the 1890’s to the present day.  You will explore the architectural detail of the District as well as the institutions, individuals and visionaries who are a part of this fascinating story.
Tours are held on the first and third Saturdays of each month, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the ceremonial entrance to the Dallas Museum of Art (Flora and Harwood).  The tour is held rain or shine.
  • $10.00 for adults
  • $8.00 for Dallas Arts District and AIA Dallas members
  • $5.00 for seniors 65 and over and students with valid ID’s
  • Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult
The tour lasts approximately one and a half hours. You may park either at the Dallas Museum of Art Parking Garage or at the Trammell Crow Center Parking Garage (entrance on Olive Street on weekends and pay the guard at the desk on the ground floor before you leave) or at a nearby surface lot or meter. This is an outdoor tour and includes both historical and architectural information about the venues and organizations in the Dallas Arts District. The tour does not include the interior of any of the buildings in the Dallas Arts District.
To make reservations, please register through PayPal here or e-mail artstour@downtowndallas.org if you would like to submit payment in the form of cash or check.  Reservations and payment must be made in advance.  Due to the necessity of scheduling docents, we are unfortunately unable to accommodate walk-ups.

For More Information

Contact Name: Dallas Center for Architecture
Email Address: info@dallascfa.com
Phone Number: 214.742.3242

Good Quote Friday

Monday, February 22, 2010

Street Cars to Return to Downtown Dallas

The City of Dallas received a $23 million discretionary funding grant from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) group to move forward with plans to re-introduce streetcars to Downtown Dallas.

(right: Looking down Main Street in downtown Dallas; circa 1951)

"This project will improve transportation within downtown Dallas by creating a seamless transit connection and providing a multi-modal link between jobs and residents," said Mayor Tom Leppert. Mayor Leppert. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Dallas himself to see how the city's streetcar plan would improve interurban transportation, help boost local businesses and lower Dallas's carbon emissions.

"This project specifically targets commuters in mixed use districts adjacent to downtown and will help create a transit network linking urban areas by providing multiple transportation alternatives," said Councilwoman Angela Hunt, whose district includes downtown.

The proposed line originates in Downtown Dallas at Harwood and Main Street. The line includes stops at the Convention Center Hotel, Trinity River Park, and Union Station, and continues into the North Oak Cliff Methodist Medical Center District.

"Clearly, this project will link walkable, mixed use neighborhoods in the urban core with employment centers throughout the region, as well as create hundreds of new jobs in Dallas," said Councilwoman Linda Koop, Chair of the Council's Transportation and Environment Committee.

The Recovery Act application, submitted in coordination with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and the City of Fort Worth, included a total budget request of $96 million. The City of Dallas requested $48 million for its portion of the streetcar project, with a total project cost of $58 million.

"To me, this is the next evolution in downtown Dallas," says Councilwoman Angela Hunt, who helped push the idea for Dallas after visiting Seattle and riding The S.L.U.T. The unfortunate yet hilarious acronym for the Seattle Lake Union Trolley. 

The City of Dallas and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) are pleased to receive the grant money to fund the new street car system since the idea is to allow riders to ride the system for free.

"It needs to be free," Hunt says. "You want people to ride it and if it's free they're gonna jump on it. They're gonna leave their car behind."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Woodall Rodgers Park:

THE PARK: Or as it's known to the locals, The Woodall Rodgers Park has just released a pre-visualization fly-through of their new public space which will span the Woodall Rodgers highway making a tunnel beneath for existing traffic to flow.

The park will connect Uptown and Downtown Dallas creating a unified public area for residents and visitors to enjoy. Along with three other downtown parks in the last year either being completed or slated for construction, THE PARK hopes to provide a visual connection between two parts of the city which has been divided by a busy highway for years. Just North of the Dallas Arts District, THE PARK is a much needed escape for the urban residents of Dallas.

Check out the video and visit THE PARK DALLAS website!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Deep Ellum Bowl: Coming Soon!

The Deep Ellum Bowl is coming soon!

Checkout the welcome message from their website!

Hello everyone. We've been working on putting a 10 lane bowling alley, bar, and restaurant in Downtown Dallas for nearly 3 years. We've locked on a spot and are ready to get it going.

It's going to be fun. 10 bowling lanes, restaurant, and bar in the heart of Deep Ellum. Live music, bowling leagues, great food and late hours. Neighborhood atmosphere with local owners.

Stay tuned for updates on our progress. If you have any questions, please let us know or post a new thread below. Visit their website.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Interview with Santiago Calatrava: Designer of the new Margaret Hunt Bridge

Two decades ago, Tom Fisher, now dean of the University of Minnesota College of Design, visited Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava in Zurich, where he has a staff of 40 and a lakeside villa.
As he was ushered into the architect's office, Fisher noticed an odd artifact hanging above the desk: the skeleton of a dog. "I thought it was his long-lost pet," he says. Read the full interview at Fast Company.com

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Continental Ave. Bridge By November 2012

 Rudolph Bush reports that the major gift to the Trinity River project is a $10 million gift to convert the Continental Avenue Bridge to a pedestrian bridge.

The gift is anonymous, but in honor of Mary McDermott Cook, who chairs the Trinity Trust Foundation.

The existing Continental Avenue Bridge is next to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which is under construction north of downtown. The Hill bridge is the first Trinity bridge from Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who was in town for today's gift announcement.

"This landmark $10 million anonymous gift given to the City of Dallas gives us the funds to convert the Continental Bridge into a pedestrian and living bridge for everyone in Dallas to enjoy," said Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.

He praised Cook for "her tireless vision for Dallas."

Cook said: "This gift will transform the Continental Bridge into an outdoor venue for walkers, bikers, and potentially, a future trolley line across the Trinity River. It will be beautifully landscaped and include the infrastructure and facilities for recreational events, markets and fairs."

Cook is the daughter of Margaret McDermott, for whom a second planned Calatrava bridge is named. That bridge would replace the existing Interstate 30 bridge over the Trinity. Read More

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Life for the Former First National on Elm Steet?

No need to mourn the demise of Elm Place, set to shutter for good on January 29 -- not when someone's already figured out what to do with the former First National Bank of Dallas, among George Dahl's myriad local icons. That someone: Colliers International, which is handling the sale of the 50-usable-stories, 1.1-million-square foot tower with a Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail station right downstairs. Read more.