Design and Real Estate Dynamics for the Dallas Arts District

Overview of the course This course is intended to provide students an understanding of spatial and economic dynamics that create contemporary urban environments through the design of four urban blocks in Dallas, Texas. The integration of design and development will be emphasized in proposals that respond to realistic market demand, economic feasibility, and other regulatory constraints, while offering bold new configurations for large urban projects in the American city. This seminar will combine students from a range of disciplines in an immersive investigation of architecture, urban design and development focusing on three areas: 1. the exploration of cultural centers as urban generators in comparable cities 2. a critical review of emerging housing morphologies appropriate to the context and 3. an understanding of the potential role of catalytic open space interventions in the restructuring of large urban districts. These three areas of research will culminate in a design proposal for four large scale sites adjacent to the Arts District in Dallas, Texas. With new cultural institutions under construction in the District by OMA and Richard Rogers (as well as the recently completed Nasher Sculpture Gallery by Renzo Piano, and landscape design by Michel Desvigne) the challenge is to transform a collection of significant buildings into a more variegated urban environment with the addition of residential fabric, open space networks and attendant programs.Student requirementsThe students will visit Dallas for 3-5 days in the first week of March. They will meet with stakeholders as well as the sponsors, local developers, brokers, civic leaders, and government officials to get the best possible understanding of the site, the downtown, the strategic goals and growth plans for the city. Throughout the course of the semester, students will be expected to create a development plan for the study site that includes specific design proposals and financial plans under the guidance of the instructors and through regular contact with the sponsors. Students will make a final presentation using both slides and printed material to a jury at the mid-term and at the end of the term. Students will then prepare a final report for the instructors that will also be sent to the Sponsors of the field study. Representatives from each of the teams will also travel to Dallas in May to present their results to the stakeholders in conjunction with the Harvard Symposium, Good Design Makes Good Business.