Saturday, February 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022
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Urban Design

A Bigger Picture for the OldDallas Morning NewsHeadquarters

The Dallas City Council will vote on the future of the convention center later today. But an important part of that is what is next door: the oldDallas Morning Newsheadquarters, which local architecture firm CRTKL explored redeveloping.
By Michael Friebele and Camila Simas|
The old Dallas Morning News headquarters. 安东尼奥Campoy Flickr /

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas is, in many respects, the largest elephant in the room on the southern fringe of downtown, asD’sPeter Simekexplored in his recent article。而全面的会展中心—though we hope an exception is made for George Dahl’s Dallas Municipal Auditorium—or a radical rethink of the existing structure is a necessary move, an even greater barrier remains in the infrastructure that is seemingly tangled within and around the building.

Roads, viaducts, light rail lines, and a trolley line all present physical obstacles that are vertically layered as much as they are intertwined in their planning. This is not limited to the convention center site itself but rather an ever-present obstacle in a larger district that will need to be addressed as future high-speed rail and the Harold Simmons Park take shape.

Where a convention center project may take some time to flesh out, the old home of theDallas Morning Newsis a catalyst opportunity toward understanding how the movement of people can lead to community-focused opportunities. The site can be a model for the convention center site to glean from and connect with.

The north/south axis of Houston Street is one of the most important cultural and historical places in Dallas. Courtesy CRTKL

我们在2020年代后期为购买建筑物的雷洗衣库的研究,不是第一个也不是最新的物业。在研究中的一个常见线程我们认为专注于类似要求创建目的地Dallas Morning News现场及其现有建筑物通过使用餐厅作为其呼叫卡。乔治达尔的历史建筑消息was front and center in every study, including our own, and was preserved in its character and acted as the front door and face to downtown.

From there, the approaches we viewed were all different, ranging from higher density development to the integration of future modes of transit. While the focus on a destination in programming as a starting point can build activity within, our focus was on recognizing the potential informed by the edges.

It is important to note first that theDallas Morning Newsarea is not limited to its historic buildings. From Young Street, the site stretches south toward the viaducts, with the convention center’s western face as one of the edges. Rather than an architecture-first approach, we focused on a creating a flexible framework with three key strategies: re-inventing, re-imagining, and re-connecting what we called theDallas Morning NewsDistrict into the greater Dallas fabric.

Throughout the flexible framework our focus was upon linking destination points with a layering of pathways and scaled public spaces. Development blocks and their respective density and program are intended to take shape as the neighborhood grows and evolves. CRTKL

The history of the site deserves to be respected and preserved but also informs how we might see the bigger picture of a future district. What theDallas Morning Newssite also benefits from most is the re-invention of the West End as a cultural and entrepreneurial hub for the city. The approach is just as much about celebrating the past as it elevates what is present. It is also an opportunity to inform those who come to experience the city in the future.

We thought of theDallas Morning News建筑作为一个起点and a catalyst, having a dialogue with the nearby Ferris Plaza and Union Station to create a draw toward the site and elevate what is already there. Here, it was important that the northern edge of the site remain open for people to experience, expanding upon the current steps as a place to interact with Ferris Plaza and the Rock of Truth as an ever-present mark of significance.

Maintaining the existing character of the Dallas Morning News building was a priority enhanced by a public gathering space that faces toward Ferris Plaza. The smooth volume above evokes the stories being revealed from within, where the glass is etched with prints from the archive. Courtesy CRTKL

TheDallas Morning Newsbuilding itself functioned for many years as its own community, in a building that told stories just as much as it inspired new ones. Envisioned as a boutique hotel, the preservation of the existing architecture creates a tie to history. The room tower rises above the roof and is set back from the historic edge, curved to create visual cues toward landmarks such as Reunion Tower.

The paper’s former production facility can play a key role, connecting people with pathways and spaces that break down the block, all of which opens toward Houston and Record streets. This gives the Oak Cliff Streetcar an exciting destination at its stop just as it does for cyclists and pedestrians arriving from the southwest across the viaduct. It can be a front door to the city. Using the volume of the building, we created an urban living room with entertainment, restaurants, and upper-level terraces to create a layered experience focused around an open-air community plaza.

Much of what we have discussed around the existingDallas Morning News建筑物专注于破坏硬障碍或打开与街道的连接,在每个边缘创造激活,而不仅仅在一个聚焦点。至于汽车,人们走路和聚集的能力是重点。纪录成为一个有限的使用街道,可以减缓流量的下车和酒店。与弗里斯广场的联系非常重要,以人们为中心,而不是用作下车或停车。

A terraced park connects the heart of the District to the Viaduct levels, that we now view as being fully pedestrian alongside the Oak Cliff Trolley. The vantage points and outdoor spaces can carry up and activate the density. Courtesy CRTKL


As for the convention center site, we viewed the space underneath the viaduct bridge as a gateway. We view this area as a dense, mixed-use neighborhood that adds much-needed residents to an underused part of downtown. As for the architecture itself, no matter the height, the approach should continue to connect in ways that are in the spirit of the experiences at the urban levels below.

重新连接Dallas Morning Newssite and this portion of downtown should be informed by what the city is telling us about its future. In many ways, the West End is a prime example that provides aspirational cues. That means a transit-rich, walkable neighborhood where people feel more attuned to their surroundings; cultural buildings with a significance that speaks to the community; parks appropriately scaled and programmed; and a platform with which to create and innovate.

In our approach, it was never about creating a large moment or a single destination for the entire district. We can point to many examples in Dallas’ past as well as in other cities where this type of thinking is unsustainable. Development should include more attention toward making an urban fabric or reintroducing one that was lost. Above all, it should be a catalyst for what is to come next.

If the former home of theDallas Morning Newssets the tone, there is a large site next door that could learn a lot from it.

Camila Simas is an Associate Principal and Michael Friebele is a Senior Associate, both with CRTKL. As a collective team, their passion and focus centers around the potential behind and thoughtful integration of design into urban environments.CRTKL is no longer working on the消息project.


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