Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News has noticed something I knew about since the day its very design was selected: That the new American Airlines arena in Dallas would look to retrograde for future development downtown.
Many years ago when I was young and foolish, I painted diagonal stripes on my living room wall.
At the time I thought it was brilliant. Of course, it wasn't.
Stripes are just fine for zebras and race cars, but they don't do a lot for living rooms, let me tell you. Eventually I figured this out.
Sadly, it will take more than a bucket of white paint to fix American Airlines Center.
Dallas city officials and the owners of the Mavericks and Stars teams thought that building an arena in the the Richardsonian Romanesque style of the 19th century would complement better the historic red-bricked West End district nearby, and assumed that new development around the arena would simply continue the style. Only one problem, though: the Arena is across a MAJOR HIGHWAY OVERPASS from the West End district, almost totally cut off visually and spatially by the dark and skuzzy belly of the bridge. Now development is finally underway in the arena, and already the tone has been set that all new buildings will be sleek and modern. This new urban fabric will indeed have some cool structures and spaces, what a shame that all of it will be juxtaposed with a monstrously sized arena that looks more like an old fashioned train terminal. And to think that when the historicist design was chosen over schemes produced by I.M. Pei, Helmut Jahn, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Ricardo Legoretta. Tells you a lot about the cultural sophistication of the Dallas elite…