Getting Out in Dallas: The Arts District (Part 2 of 3)
I had a few hours to kill a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I’d walk through the Arts District and check out the progress on the Theater and Opera House. You have to have a pretty good imagination to see how the jumble dirt cranes, and hard hats.
But it’s clear something good is going on it what civic leaders are quick to call “the largest contiguous arts district in the country.” They’ll also gladly tell you that Dallas will be the only city in the world that has four buildings designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects located in one contiguous block -Nasher Sculpture Center/Renzo Piano; Meyerson Symphony Center/I.M. Pei; Winspear Opera House/Norman Foster; Wyly Theatre/Rem Koolhaas- (blah, blah, blah).
First I stopped by the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater Center. It pretty much looks like a cube with vertical blinds right now. But apparently there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Artist Rendering – Dee and Charles Wyly Theater
Wyly Theater Early February
This building is going to be able to do all types of funky stuff that I still don’t understand. Here’s a description from ArcSpace.com.
The 11-story, and one sub-level, building will feature an unprecedented “stacked,” vertically organized design that completely rethinks the traditional form of theater.
The design places the ancillary spaces above or below the auditorium, allowing directors to change the venue for theater performances to a wide variety of configurations, including proscenium, thrust and flat floor.
At different moments, audiences will have a full view of the city skyline as a backdrop to performances. At others, the walls of the Wyly Theater can actually be raised to allow the cityscape to be a part of the theater experience.
Then I strolled over to check out the progress on the Opera House. It kind of looks like an enormous tic-tac inside a spaceship.
Artist rendering Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House
Winspear Opera House Early February
Again from ArcSpace.com
The building is designed in a modern horseshoe configuration, to provide the best possible acoustical environment, with emphasis on pedestrian flow and integration of public spaces in the design.
A canopy will provide shade from the hot Texas sun and make the surrounding outdoor spaces an inviting venue for year-round public events. The transparency of the facade will reveal views of the public concourse, upper-level foyers and grand staircase, creating a strong connection between inside and outside.
Seating 2,200 the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House will be engineered specifically for performances of opera and musical theater, with its stages designed and equipped with appropriate flooring for performances of ballet and other forms of dance.
Sounds cool (pun intended). I also went inside One Arts Plaza for the first time, though I’d stopped at the 7-11 early last year. I guess this Spring when I start “getting into the city”, I’ll have to try one of the restaurants at One Arts, like Screen Door, Fedora, or Jorge’s.
The other thing Dallas citizens need to start wrapping our minds around is the Woodall Rodgers Park. Utility work for the Woodall Rodgers Park, a 5-acre urban green space that will cover the existing highway between Downtown and Uptown Dallas, began late last month. The park’s groundbreaking is scheduled for late summer/early fall.
Plans for the park include jogging trails, a dog park, a children’s playground, dining options, a performance pavilion, water sculpture, an area for games and more. The pedestrian-friendly green space will connect with the Katy Trail and the McKinney Ave. trolley and will allow people to easily walk between Uptown and Downtown.
Anyway, I’m not even sure the park story fit, but what are you gonna do? These are exciting times for the Arts District. Imagine trying to pass a bond package for bridges and opera houses in this climate. By the time the Super Bowl gets here Dallas will look totally different. That’s a good thing. I just hope we all have jobs.