Michael Friebele

Michael Friebele

Dallas, TX, US


Thanks-Giving Square Rejuvenation

The assassination of JFK and the police shooting in Dallas proved to be catalytic moments in shaping the way the city expresses compassion and change. A number of movements and physical spaces came in the face of change, all focused on the internal reverence of an event or shaped around the act and process of healing.

Peter Stewart and the Foundation's ambition to create a center in the world for giving thanks manifested in the drive to create a physical space, a universal space, for all walks to come together and reflect. It was a different type of urban condition that was neither plaza nor park. Philip Johnson’s role served as orchestrator, perhaps curator of strong ambitions and beliefs cast from a rooted and impassioned Foundation. 

The process was collaborative, inclusive again of the Foundation’s voices alongside designers, Downtown Interests, and faith partnerships.
Workshops continue to shape the spirit of the project and weigh hand in hand with the mission of the Square and it’s Foundation.

Inside the walls, the Rejuvenation is a balance of respect, accessibility, and a renewed experience for everyone. Therefore, the intention behind the core of the Square is about maintaining the essence of place through a balance of enhancing accessibility. The drive is to enhance a space to be enjoyed by everyone.

Over time, the Square became a cluster of conflicting messages, graphics, and messages. Spaces are taken back to their original character and intent, one free of “noise” in order to focus on reflection and contemplation.

The Pavilion replaces an existing plaza that was added alongside the DART line. Over time, the Square has seen little use for this space yet a non-profit investment around the plaza and below, in the underground tunnel network. The Pavilion acts as a gateway to Giving, a front door to the non-profit partnerships, and a landscaped enhancement.

The enhancement comes through the concept of the structure, a pulling up of the site as if creating a new planter characteristic of the existing Square conditions within the walls. Cuts in the structure, down to the detail of the facade, express the conflicting street grid. Cuts in the facade work with landscape to create green portals through the volume. Above, architecture reads as the final planter that completes the composition of Thanks-Giving Square.


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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Dallas, TX, US
My Role: Lead Design
Additional Credits: CRTKL
Collin Koonce
Michael Friebele
Noel Aveton
Frank Lu
Connor Bruns
Kamel Hilmi