Three Downtown Dallas Parks Deliver Differing Visions of Public Space
https://magazine.texasarchitects.org/20 ... lic-space/
Klyde Warren Park
Klyde Warren Park, Dallas’ freeway-topping jewel which has been successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, set a new tone for public space in Dallas. It demonstrated the need for public spaces in the urban core, and the resulting property value, development, and tax revenue explosion was immense. As park co-founder and chairman Jody Grant recalls, Klyde Warren was originally conceived as an economic development project, but it has become so much more. The 5.2-acre park contains a great lawn, a children’s play area, a restaurant, a performance pavilion, splash pads, a reading room, games for rent, a putting green, ping pong tables, natural planting areas, and a dog park. Despite so much programming, there is still space for people to simply sit in the shade and watch the activity. The designers struck a balance between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ that seems to be working quite well. One of the most passive areas is the far east end of the park, where a triangular section of lawn is bounded by two paths and Pearl Street. Here, the park design called for a fountain, but it was not included in the original build-out due to cost.
The park foundation recently announced a new planned fountain for this location — and it did so with an exceedingly fanciful rendering: giant illuminated shafts of rainbow-colored water jets shooting high into a night sky featuring a vivid Milky Way galaxy and fireworks exploding in the distance. Grant now realizes the tacky rendering was counterproductive — Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster said it gave one “that feeling of mortification when you witness someone do something foolish.” Subsequent images, which display the fountain in a less embellished manner, show something much more appropriately scaled and devoid of gimmicks. Grant envisions the fountain as the entrance to the heart of the city and an iconic and tasteful landmark that will inspire countless selfies and Instagram shots.