Texas Architect March/April 2010: Performance Spaces
This edition highlights architecture deigned for performance throughout Texas, including thoughtful essays about the use of public space and the Dallas Arts District. Texas Architect, the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects|AIA, publishes the best projects by Texas architects and thoughtful articles on design and the architecture industry, and maintains an award-winning standard of quality.
Designs of Trolley Stops Chosen For Dallas’ Bustling West Village In the heart of the lively neighborhood called Uptown Dallas, the M-Line of the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority covers a 3.5-mile circuit with a fleet of preserved historic trolley cars. The vintage trolleys are an important link in an urban mass-transit system that connects Uptown Dallas with the downtown to the south, shuttling local residents and visitors to popular restaurants, shops, and night spots. At the upper reaches of Uptown is the live/work/ play enclave known as West Village, located at the intersection of McKinney and Lemmon. Although the trolleys are frequently the preferred option for transportation in and around West Village, three of the M-Line’s stops consist of nothing more than a sign on a pole. To improve their visibility and perhaps increase ridership even more by providing shelter, local business owners contacted AIA Dallas to ask for help in holding a competition to design new trolley stops. The competition was planned to coincide with last year’s celebration of the McKinney Avenue trolley’s twentieth anniversary. The architectural design competition was facilitated by the AIA chapter’s Young Architects Forum (YAF), with entries solicited from young architects, architectural interns, and students in the local community. In September, a jur y selected winning entries in four categories along with an overall “best of show.” The winners were: (Best Design and Best of Show) Enrique Greenwell, Assoc. AIA, of HKS; (Best Student Entry) Brandon d a l l a s Smith of the University of Texas at Arlington; (Best Intern Entry) Michael Peguero, Assoc. AIA, of nocturnTROPIC3; and (Best Licensed Architect) Ben Reavis, AIA, of Oglesby Green. Although the owners of West Village intend to eventually erect the trolley stops, there is no construction schedule or timeline for selection of the design that will be built. Criteria called for structures that would be simple to construct yet architecturally significant. The architectural program included a footprint no larger than 8’6” wide by 4’5” long and 8’5” high with a bench to seat four to six people protected by a canopy or overhead element. Each designer or team of designers was free to specify suitable materials and a lighting strategy. The entry could include either one design for all three stops or three unique designs, as long as the designer provided an explanation for the latter. In addition to the programmatic outline, the business owners of West Village asked that designs fit into the architectural vocabulary of the existing buildings and be distinctive from other transit structures in the area (such as city bus shelters). In conjunction with the competition, a blog, www.trolleycomp.blogspot.com, was set up to provide online access to programming information, updates, and answers to questions. Registration cost was free, thanks to West Village’s willingness to support the program costs during a challenging economic climate for the architectural profession. The competition offered four main awards, along with a Best of Show and a Best Design in each group. By the close of registration on Sept. 4, 120 individuals and teams had entered their intent to submit a design via electronic media (thereby saving participants the cost of printing presentation boards). The submittal deadline was Sept. 10, with 60 entries received. A preliminary judging panel of YAF members narrowed the total to 24 semifinalists, eight in each category. Finalists were then selected by panel that consisted of three developer/owners of West Village along with Stephen Park, AIA, of Corgan Associates; Ron Wommack, FAIA; and Paul Pascarelli, AIA, of WKMC Architects as jury foreman. Awards were presented at an awards reception held and sponsored by West Village. During the week prior to the reception the 24 semifinalists’ boards where on public display in the shop windows of West Village. P a u l P a s c a r e l l i , AIA Best Student Entry: Brandon Smith Best Design/Best of Show: Enrique Greenwell, Assoc. AIA 20 t e x a s a r c h i t e c t Best Licensed Architect Entry: Ben Reavis, AIA Best Intern Entry: Michael Peguero, Assoc. AIA 3 / 4 2 0 1 0