Monday, April 07, 2014

Victory Park’s centerpiece Dallas sports arena is a souvenir from the last century

Kohn Pedersen Fox's stunning design for the Victory Park sports arena was passed over in favor of the "nostalgic" style of the American Airlines Center. (DMN files)
The 1920s called, and they want back their sports arena. I wish they had it.
With every new building announcement for Dallas’ Victory Park project, it’s easier to see what a colossal mistake the design choice for the American Airlines Center arena was.
This week Houston-based developer Hines unveiled plans for a sleek new Victory Park office tower designed by North Carolina-based Duda/Paine Architects.
The thoroughly modern high-rise will sit just two blocks from Victory Park’s centerpiece sports arena, which looks like something plucked out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Arena planners back in the late 1990s turned their noses up at modern designs offered by acclaimed architects Murphy/Jahn and Kohn Pedersen Fox in favor of the AA Center’s folksy style.
If Dallas’ sports fans were expecting a Ferrari of an arena, well, they got a DeSoto instead.
Longtime Dallas Morning News architectural critic David Dillon described the AAC design by David Schwarz as “kitsch.”
The American Airlines Center is considered "nostalgic" architecture. (DMN files)
“Instead of a bold and innovative design for the next century, he presented another piece of lick-and-stick architecture that will make thoughtful observers wonder whether Dallas can even spell ‘millennium’,” Dillon wrote.
When Schwarz was quizzed about why he didn’t chose  a more forward looking design, he bristled.
“Since we’re not in the 21st century yet, I’m not sure what a
 21st-century building looks like,” he said.
Well, for sure it didn’t look like an aircraft hanger from the 1920s. I’m still asked by out-of-town visitors, “what’s that old building?”
Don’t get me wrong, I love old buildings. Some of Dallas’ best architecture hails from the early 20thcentury.
And I actually like the way the AAC looks, just not where it’s located.
Victory Park was supposed to be all about the future. And that arena is stuck in the past.
And as more modern buildings are developed surrounding the AAC, it will look like even more an anachronism.
Another runner up was the design scheme by Murphy/Jahn. (DMN files)