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Santiago Calatrava Tops Out on Dallas' Margaret McDermott Bridge

Santiago Calatrava has topped out on his second Dallas bridge - the Margaret McDermott Bridge - two years after completing the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The steel arch, reaching a height of 275 feet, is the first of two that will support the 1311-foot-long bridge that is intended to provide access to pedestrians, bicyclists and cars over the Trinity River. The $113 million bridge is part of the massive $798 million Dallas Horseshoe Project that aims to alleviate traffic and enhance accessibility downtown. It is scheduled to complete by the summer of 2017. 

Kengo Kuma Breaks Ground on Luxury Rolex Tower in Dallas

Kengo Kuma & Associates and developer Harwood International have broken ground on a twisted, seven-story tower for Rolex in Dallas' Uptown district. The luxury watchmaker intends on using the 136,857-square-foot building as a new office space. It will rise adjacent to Rolex's original building on Harwood Street that was built in 1984.

According to Kuma, the building "fuses nature and architecture," and will feature a tiered Japanese-inspired garden. 

For the Highest Density of Design Excellence, Visit Dallas

Since the construction of the first high-rise, it seems architectural merit has been weighed most heavily by a building's height. However, Kriston Capps of CityLab notes in his article "For the Best U.S. Architecture Per Square Mile, Head to Dallas" that the concentration of buildings by award-winning and internationally-renowned architects can also put cities on the architectural map. Although Chicago and New York may have taller skylines, he argues, in terms of stellar design density, Dallas can't be beat. Read the full article, here.

A First Look at Omniplan's Proposed Dallas Holocaust Museum

The Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance has officially gone public with plans to build a new permanent home in the city’s West End, across from the museum’s current location. Preliminary designs, by Texas-based Omniplan Architects, indicate a modest concrete and weathered steel structure with expanded galleries that would be built on parcel bound by Ross Avenue, Houston Street and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light. 

Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts Reveals Expansion Plans with Buildings by Steven Holl and Lake|Flato

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has released plans for an ambitious $450 million expansion that will transform it into one of the largest art campuses in the US. The 14-acre masterplan will include three new buildings - one by Texas-based Lake|Flato Architects and two others by museum aficionado Steven Holl Architects - connected by a pedestrianized landscape of reflecting pools and gardens. 

The first scheduled to break ground (this year) is the Steven Holl-designed, 80,000-square-foot new home for the Glassell School of Art. The L-shaped, pre-cast concrete structure will, as MFAH describes, pride itself as an extension of the campus landscape, featuring a stepped amphitheater that leads up to a walkable, trellised roof garden.

The Glassell School of Art. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects The Glassell School of Art. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects The Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation. Image © Lake|Flato Architects The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Humorous Short Stories About Austin's Madcap Growth

Award-winning architect, writer, and professor David Heymann has just released his first work of fiction: My Beautiful City Austin. Composed of seven humorous tales, the stories document the misadventures of a young architect in Austin and his accidental involvement in the slow decimation of his city’s charms. Unable to deter his clients from their poor choices, the well-intentioned designer finds himself complicit. Using fiction, Heymann paints a sharply dynamic picture of the architectural consequences of Austin’s rapid growth and “rediscovered allure.” Check out the book, here.

Arthur Andersson on Timeless Materials & Building "Ruins"

Tower House . Image © Art Gray
Tower House . Image © Art Gray

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural  in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise Architects wants to build ruins. He wants things to be timeless - to look good now and 2000 years from now. He wants buildings to fit within a place and time. To do that he has a various set of philosophies, processes and some great influences. Read our full in-depth interview with Mr. Andersson, another revolutionary "Material Mind," after the break. 

Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Stone Creek Camp. Image © Art Gray

Rice Selects Diller Scofidio & Renfro to Design Opera House

Rice University has commissioned Diller Scofidio & Renfro to transform an existing parking lot between Alice Pratt Brown Hall, the home of Rice's Shepherd School of Music, and Rice Stadium into a 600-seat opera theater. Charles Renfro, a 1989 Rice graduate and the project’s lead architect, stated: "It feels really natural in a lot of ways to be returning to campus, a place I've spent so much time and love so much." Completion is scheduled for 2018. 

Stoss + SHoP Beat Out Bofill, OMA for Downtown Dallas Re-Design

The results are in: Dallas has selected Stoss + SHoP’s “Hyper Density Hyper Landscape” (HDHL) over finalists Ricardo Bofill and OMA+AMO to reunite its downtown with the neighboring Trinity River. The winning team’s pragmatic approach aims to activates the region’s “full potential” by introducing an alternating “grid-green” development that will transform 176 acres into three new “dynamic, mixed-used” neighborhoods.

“The idea is very clear and compelling,” stated the jury. “There’s much left to be resolved in details but the diagram of the green coming into the city and the city going into the Trinity is a very powerful diagram that should become a strategy for managing change as the community moves forward.”

Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) 2014 Annual Conference

More than 600 scholars and professionals are expected at the 67th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) at Austin, Texas. For four days between April 9 and April 13, historians, city planners, civic leaders, preservationists, landscape architects, architects and more will discuss the issues that Austin faces as a fast-pace growing city. The discussion will also include tour to different architectural sites.

See the complete press release after the break.

VIDEO: Renzo Piano Pavilion at Kimbell Art Museum

Arbuckle Industries, the producers behind the highly lauded documentary Archiculture, has shared with us a small teaser revealing Renzo Piano’s recently opened expansion at the Kimbell Art Center. Situated just 65 yards from Louis I. Kahn’s “signature cycloid-vaulted museum of 1972,” the single-story, colonnaded pavilion “stands as an expression of simplicity and lightness.”

Johnston Marklee's Design for Menil Drawing Institute To Harness Gradients of Light

As we reported last weekThe Menil Collection has unveiled details on the Menil Drawing Institute (MDI), designed by Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee, in Houston, Texas. The building will be the first freestanding facility in the United States created especially for the exhibition, study, storage, and conservation of modern and contemporary drawings. 

Situated in an extensive 30-acre masterplan designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the institute will be located amongst Renzo Piano's main museum building, Piano's Cy Twombly Gallery, the Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall, and the Rothko Chapel. More info on the design, and all the renderings, after the break.

Details Emerge on Johnston Marklee’s Design for the Menil Drawing Institute

The Menil Collection has unveiled details of the long-awaited Menil Drawing Institute, designed by Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee, in Houston, Texas. The modest, $40 million institute is projected to be the first freestanding facility in America dedicated to modern and contemporary drawing, as well as the Menil’s first major expansion under the ambitious 30-acre master plan designed by David Chipperfield Architects. 

Details on the design, after the break...

TEX-FAB Skin: Digital Assemblies

TEX-FAB extends its reach to Austin, this year adding the University of Texas School of Architecture as a member organization. In doing so, the UT SOA is supporting the largest and most complete event to date with Michel Rojkind as our Keynote lecture with 6 speakers and 4 moderators. Moderators will delve into techniques to highlight the differences between working methods, while within the workshops, session leaders will further develop those topics as functional methods for the production of design solutions. 

Surya: REX / Front’s 400-foot Solution for Dallas’ Disputed “Hot Spot”

It’s been two year’s since the construction of the 42-story Museum Tower in Dallas. As many of you may recall, the luxury condo has been in dispute with the neighboring Nasher Sculpture Center over an intense “hot spot” caused by the tower’s highly reflective skin. Although Nasher has demanded that the Museum Tower cover its southwestern facade with an external louver system, thus blocking the glare from penetrating Nasher’s Renzo Piano-designed cast aluminum sunscreen, the developers have refused to oblige due to a fear of jeopardizing the project's profitability.

Negotiations have turned to squabbles and proposals have fallen on deaf ears. However, a team lead by REX and Front has been commissioned by the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund (DPFPF) - the Museum Tower’s developer - to explore a "third option," one that would not require changing the construction of either Museum Tower or the Nasher. 

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) Chosen as Landscape Architect for Menil Collection Master Plan

In another pleasing step forward in its ultimate execution of David Chipperfield‘s master plan for the museum campus, the Menil Collection has hired Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates to design a new landscape for the 30-acre neighborhood that connects more than a half-dozen museum buildings.  

The Indicator: When Architects Attack

When Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, gives a bad review there is the sense that he is essentially dismantling a building, chipping its façade apart, like breaking down some charade in defense of the public’s honor. Like a hired killer he disappears the architecture, but at the same time heightens its visibility in the culture.

This ability, to provoke in such ways, is precisely why Thom Mayne would like to bar Mr. Hawthorne from taking a crack at reviewing the new building he and his firm, Morphosis designed for the firm’s new offices.

On a recent tour of the new digs, Mayne, as reported in The Architect’s Newspaper, was overheard saying, “There are no good writers in Los Angeles” and “All local writers are horrible.” To add further insult, he wants a science writer to cover it. That should be a short review.

The Danger of the Zoning-Free Approach

Despite the romantic notion about cities that develop organically have a rich diversity of form and function, we cannot overlook the deadly side effects of negligent city planning. As Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star points out, last month's tragic fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas is a grim reminder that planning has a time and place and its ultimate utility resides in the initiative to protect residents and make for healthier communities. The tangle of bureaucracy associated with planning, zoning and land use regulations can give any architect or developer a massive headache. In some cases, the laws are so restricting that diverging from bulk regulations becomes very limiting.