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Photo by Nash Baker/Vaughn Construction ‘Courts’ continued from page 20 cleverly hidden in the polished gray marble cladding of the rotunda interior. The building is now fully sprinklered and all necessary modern interventions – such as air-conditioning ducts, conduit, and wiring – carefully concealed. Windows, millwork, furnishings, and flooring were replicated, and detailing of the judges benches in the two other counties was incorporated into the design of the new benches, an alteration necessitated by the courthouse’s change from civil to appellate courtroom use. The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program was established by the Texas Legislature in 1999 through efforts by then-Governor George W. Bush in response to growing public concern about the deteriorated condition of many historic county courthouses across the state and publicity garnered by their collective listing on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Eleven Most Endangered List during the previous year. To date, the courthouse program has funded projects, including 55 full restorations, in 82 counties. A n n a M o d March Opening for Calatrava Bridge Still another few months away from completion, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge already stands out from the other iconic profiles that make up the skyline of Dallas. Designed by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, the bridge is the most conspicuous component of the ongoing improve- Photo by Jeremy Dickie d a l l a s The original art glass under the dome was replaced with a leaded glass piece, its design inspired by floor tiles. ments to the Trinity River. Visually prominent with an arch that rises 400 feet at its highest point, the cable-stayed bridge represents the soaring potential for the ambitious 20-milelong civic project that re-imagines the relationship between the city and the reclaimed river. Located at the western edge of downtown, the new bridge will connect Woodall Rodgers Freeway with neighborhoods across the Trinity. In this view looking south taken in September, construction continued on the Santiago Calatrava-designed Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge spanning 1,250 feet across the Trinity River channel northwest of downtown Dallas. 1 1 / 1 2 2 0 1 1 With construction scheduled to wind up early next year, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is set to officially open in March. The bridge, spanning 1,250 feet across the river channel, is stunning. For anyone lacking opportunities to experience Calatrava-designed bridges and buildings in other parts of the world, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge does not disappoint. It’s a tour de force blending of art and engineering. Despite its immense size the bridge is slender and graceful, dramatic and assertive, sparely elegant without being flashy. The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge also signals forward movement of the $2.2 billion Trinity River Corridor Project, which ultimately is intended to combine the recovery of the longmaligned Trinity River with recreational access and cultural amenities. First approved by Dallas voters in 1998, the effort has proceeded in a fitful manner marked by controversies over the project’s programming – including a proposed toll road – and its overall cost. With the bridge’s imminent opening, the Trinity River Corridor Project may likely get a fresh look and one that sets the tone for the quality and thoughtfulness of all that follows. M i c h a e l M a l o n e , t e x a s A I A a r c h i t e c t 23

Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2011: Arts & Science

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