Sunday, November 29, 2009
Winning model selected for sustainable city block in downtown Dallas
Designed by European architects and led by Central Dallas CDC, new development will transform the city hall parking lot into a sustainable urban hillside.
DALLAS Urban Re:Vision and the Central Dallas Community Development Corporation announced that they have chosen “Forwarding Dallas” as the winning design for a sustainable urban block to be built in Dallas. The challenge, to transform a vacant inner-city block behind City Hall into a carbon-neutral community, drew hundreds of entries from top architecture firms and city planners in 14 countries worldwide. Forwarding Dallas is the product of a collaboration between Portuguese-based architectural firms Atelier Data and Moov, and will run “off the grid,” acting as a working model of sustainability for cities around the globe. Ground breaking is scheduled for early 2011.
Forwarding Dallas is modeled after one of the most diverse systems in nature, the hillside. The site is a series of valleys and hilltops, the valleys containing trees and more luxurious plants which transition into more resistant plants as the altitude increases. Atop the hills, solar thermal, photovoltaic and wind energy is harvested.
Other design components include open "green" spaces; housing options from studio apartments to three bedroom flats; rooftop water catchment system designed to recycle water collected from rooftops and store underground for later use; a 100% prefabricated construction system; and public green houses, including a sensorial greenhouse, swimming pool green house, and meeting point green house.
A spiritual space, gymnasium, café, and exhibition space are also planned to accommodate various lifestyles. There is a temporary accommodation center as well as a daycare center designed for both children and the elderly.
Last May, three winners and three honorable mentions were selected from hundreds of entries. During the months since, Urban Re:vision and the Central Dallas CDC worked with a cadre of pro-bono executives provided by The Real Estate Council Foundation who have done extensive work on the proposed designs, including site analysis, creation of trial pro formas, engineering and architectural reviews, and estimates of construction costs for all three of the winning designs. During the first two weeks of November, each of the three winners flew into Dallas for additional discussion.
“All three of the design teams impressed us, both with the quality of their designs and in the interviews,” said John Greenan, executive director for Central Dallas CDC. “Dallas would be a richer city to have the work of any of these architects represented, but as we went further into our review, we began to see the deep logic of the MOOV-Atelier Data design, Forwarding Dallas. Forwarding Dallas seemed to us to do the best job of incorporating concepts of sustainability into the foundation of the design.”
Considerations for the selection included:
- Sustainability and reality of intent
- Affordability/Constructability: Could it be built in the next few years?
- Innovation and Originality
- Incorporation of Sustainable Materials and Practices
As the re-visioning of one Dallas city block gains momentum, Greenan is already looking toward future endeavors. “The greatest economic impact will come from rebuilding a long neglected part of downtown,” Greenan said. “There are probably an additional half dozen underutilized blocks in the area of the project, and once we prove up the viability of rebuilding the south central part of Downtown Dallas, I think all those blocks will also be revitalized.”
“What I would love to see is an entire section of downtown notable for innovative, sustainable design -- an attraction in the southern part of downtown balancing the Arts District in the northern part of downtown. There are already some interesting, green projects in The Cedars immediately to the south of downtown. A sustainable district that extends from downtown all the way into The Cedars neighborhood is a very reasonable possibility.”
Source: Urban Re:Vision
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