2018 Collaborative Achievement Award Recipient
The Collaborative Achievement Award recognizes the excellence that results when architects work with those from outside the profession to improve the spaces where people live and work.
Klyde Warren Park healed a rift in Dallas where a freeway once divided two vital sections of the city, overcoming an obstacle that many residents feared was permanent. The park, completed in 2012, required significant funding and buy-in from the public and private sectors, but the efforts resulted in 5 acres of activated, world-class green space that has redefined the city and its self-image.
“With over one million visitors each year, it is bringing people of all generations, backgrounds, and geography together for a world-class experience,” wrote Kourtny Garrett, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc., in a letter supporting Klyde Warren Park’s nomination for the AIA Collaborative Achievement Award. “The programming gives guests of all ages and abilities something to enjoy.”
Designed by The Office of James Burnett, Klyde Warren Park is perched above Spur 366 and caps what was once a high-speed concrete canyon. A feat of engineering, the park’s deck was constructed with more than 300 concrete beams and slabs, a combination that creates trenches that play the role of planting boxes for 37 native plant species and more than 300 trees. LEED Gold–certified, the park relies on a number of practical sustainable strategies resulting in a 40 percent reduction in potable water use. Its trees intercept nearly 25,000 gallons of stormwater runoff and sequester approximately 18,500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
Recent studies have shown that the urban oasis has improved the quality of life for more than 90 percent of Dallasites, and has generated more than $1 billion in new development within a quarter-mile radius since the project was announced in 2009. Further bolstering the city’s Arts District, the park abuts the Renzo Piano–designed Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Museum of Art. The entire district saw its economic impact triple, due in large part to a significant increase in street activity since Klyde Warren Park’s completion.
“Great cities have great parks, and Klyde Warren Park has quickly become the new heart of downtown Dallas—a place to gather, full of activities and fascination [fascinating?] features, where everyone is welcome,” landscape architect James Burnett said of his design.
The $97 million project was funded through a combination of city bond, state highway, and federal stimulus funds as well as $55 million in private donations. The project is now managed by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helped secure early funding for feasibility studies and maintained its momentum during the depths of the Great Recession.
Through its free programming—including movie screenings, yoga, ballroom dancing, and opera simulcasts—the project has elevated downtown Dallas’ status to a true live, work, and play environment. “Klyde Warren Park, as a model deck park,” wrote Lily Cabatu Weiss, executive director of the Dallas Arts District, in a letter supporting the nomination, “has drawn visitors internationally to study the incredible success of this recreational treasure for Dallas; it brings the entire community together while creating a beautiful sense of place.”