Dallas Architectural Roundup

 

The D/FW area, despite its relatively brief cultural history, has some truly interesting architecture to behold. I’m not talking about glass-and-steel monstrosities, though you can find those a-plenty; I mean those things that were built for the ages, the structures that come to mind when anyone thinks of the Metroplex. These are buildings that, if they haven’t already survived decades (or more) of our tear-down-and-rebuild culture, doubtless will, as they’re so striking to look at.

Since there’s a lot to see, and I know you enjoy unique and impressive architecture, I figured I’d just start collecting photos as I wondered about the towns, and spring them on you a few at a time. As long as I keep finding neat stuff, I’ll make this regular feature, and keep bringing it to your attention. But I don’t want to overwhelm you with all the coolness at once, so I’ll limit these architectural snippets to four or five at a time. A lot of these items are going to end up with their own blog entries anyhow.

Most of the items in this entry were collected during a recent trip to Fort Worth on the Trinity Railways Express, which will soon be the subject of an entry or two of its own. They’re all from Dallas. Fort Worth, for its part, tends to be even more architecturally rich — as you’ll soon discover.

Here’s a general Welcome to Dallas pic (taken from Citiplace Station north of Downtown) to give you an idea of what the skyline looks like from a distance. If Spider-Man were from Dallas, let’s just say that his swinging choices would be limited. The downtown’s pretty concentrated. (Fort Worth is very much the same).

Welcome to Dallas

You have to take the DART rail to Union Station before you can get on the TRE, which is a separate line altogether. Union Station is <> an outdoor station (most all of the DART stations are), and the first thing you see when you step off the train is Reunion Tower. Here’s a picture of it from near the base.

Reunion Tower

Oh, it’s not as impressive as Seattle’s Space Needle or anything, but it’s pretty cool anyway, and quite the local landmark. See that gridwork up there? There’s a light at every point where the girders meet, making the tower look very cool at night. You should have seen it when the World Cup was in Dallas a few years back; they lit it up so it looked like a soccer ball. That cylindrical thing inside the ball of girders is a rotating restaurant; I’ve been up there before. It’s a blast, and while it’s a bit expensive, it’s worth it — unless, of course, you’re afraid of heights. Here’s a better view of the top of the tower, from downtown Dallas near Dealey Plaza.

Reunion Close-up

Union Station itself is pretty boring inside, but outside it’s kind of impressive. I’m no expert, but take a look at these columns on the front of the building:

Union Station Columns

As far as I can tell, they’re made of marble or limestone rather than concrete, which makes them a heckuva lot better than a lot of the buildings in the vicinity, especially the government ones.

There is one exception to the crappy government building rule in downtown Dallas, however, and it’s a doozy: the Old Red Courthouse. Take a look:

Old Red

This Romanesque structure was built in the 1890s, and they just finished restoring it to its former glory in June 2007. These days it’s a museum. That incredible red stone it’s made of is Pecos Red sandstone from West Texas. I didn’t get to explore it as well as I would’ve liked when I was last downtown, but I’m going back again soon — and you can bet that it’ll be the subject of some in-depth blogging as soon as I can manage it.