Aug '04 - May '05
Today I continued work on my site model. Tomorrow I'll start to build the highway the runs next to my site. This might be a little challenging. I'm starting to get in my routine here at school, but skipped out on a night a Crickets(local bar) to write this blog. What was I thinking? Here is a summary of my project.
I propose a thesis on the adaptive reuse of the historic Dallas High School. The original Dallas High School building, built by Lang and Witchell in 1908, sits on 5.4 acres of land located just inside of the central core loop of highways that surround downtown Dallas just West of the central expressway. In October of 2000 the City Council of Dallas voted to make the structure a historic landmark. Since its designation, the structure has been involved in ongoing litigation. The current owners wish to demolish the structure to make way for a mixed use commercial complex. The Dallas Tech Alumni Association is currently working to save the structure from demolition.
The Dallas High School's main faÃ§ade faces the Bryan/Pearl Street Dart Rail Station. Its buff brick exterior and significantly smaller profile creates a strong visual void amongst the surrounding contemporary offices and hotel buildings. The structure was designed in the Classical Revival style and includes 60 original class rooms and an auditorium capable of seating 1200 students. During its lifetime the Dallas High School remained a useful asset to the community by continually adjusting and evolving to the needs of the community. The school was eventually closed in 1995 and has been involved in constant political battles ever since.
The vision of this proposal will focus on revitalizing the site into the community center that it once was, with an emphasis on significant residuals. Possible precise demolition and creative additions to the existing structure will capture the useful character and capital of the site's past. Imprints and connections to the existing structure will be dramatized rather than romanticized.
Downtown Dallas has been desperately seeking a grocery store for several years. Many developers feel that without a store the residential growth downtown has enjoyed, will stall. The Dallas High School site will provide something much greater than a simple community grocery store providing the necessities of life. On the contrary, a food theme park will be designed to provide the customer with: entertainment, education, relaxation, recreation, and fresh quality foods. The facility will take advantage of: the public transportation located at its front door, neighboring office buildings, hotels, immediate freeway access, and the adjacent existing park. The commercial center will include quick meal food vendors, old world style market shopping, themed restaurants combined with cooking classes, wine cellar bar, pharmacy, home meal replacements, shopping services, and an outdoor multi-purpose theater.
The existence of the Dallas High School is currently in a volatile state of litigation. As one of the few remaining public structures of its time period in Dallas, it is important that the structure be saved. Rather than simply preserving the structure it should be allowed to continue its evolutionary cycle that began in 1908. As a market center, the site will once again be vibrant with life as it caters to the needs of the downtown population.