Everything is [Getting] Bigger in Texas

Everything is [Getting] Bigger in Texas

Courtesy Harwood International

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States this year, Dallas is putting its hard-earned dollars right into the ground with several new buildings: A twisted, seven-story tower by Kengo Kuma for Rolex and two by Pelli Clarke Pelli—the McKinney & Olive tower, a 20-story office and retail uptown, and new South Asian museum downtown—are the latest projects to be released.

Kengo Kuma’s Rolex tower, which broke ground August 11 and opens late next year, will provide new office space for the luxury watchmaker.  The building is located next to Rolex’s original headquarters at 2651 North Harwood Street and will have 136,857 square feet of interior space. Kuma is working with landscape architect Sadafumi Uchiyama to created a tiered, Japanese-inspired garden replete with stonewalls, reflecting pools, and fountains.

“Environment is an essential concept for the modern experience, incorporating both natural and urban surroundings,” said Kuma. “This landscape-building idea will result in a beautiful urban-organic icon.”

The Dallas skyline, left, is undergoing some significant changes thanks to its robust economy. In particular, Harwood International is taking on uptown, right, with Kengo Kuma’s Rolex Building and Paris-based architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte’s condominium tower.

According to Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, founder and CEO of developer Harwood International, the Rolex Building will be the first building in Dallas to be designed by a Japanese architect.

Only a few blocks away, the McKinney & Olive tower by Cesar Pelli with executive architects Kendall/Heaton Associates broke ground June 19 of last year. The glass tower will rise 20 stories and fill a 3.1-acre site, making it one of the loftier buildings in the neighborhood. The bottom levels will be primarily retail space with offices filling out the rest of the 530,000 square feet. There are also plans for a green roof and garden space at the street level.

Pelli has his sights set on downtown as well—his firm announced in September that it won the proposal to design the Shraman South Asian Museum, which will be the first museum in the U.S. exclusively devoted to South Asia. The 4.7-acre site at Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Field Street will join the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and Dallas Museum of Art as part of Museum Way.


City officials have been pushing hard to revitalize the downtown area as a destination for arts and culture, with the hope that this museum will help to build momentum, particularly after the Museum Tower fiasco these past couple of years. (The luxury apartment tower has received significant criticism after it was discovered that the light reflecting off of the facade is literally burning the art and plants on Renzo Piano’s Nasher Sculpture Center across the street. As of press time, there still isn’t an adequate solution to the glare.)

These buildings join major projects both under construction and under consideration. In tandem with the Rolex Tower, Harwood International is also building Bleu Ciel, a 33-story condominium complex uptown. On August 22, Santiago Calatrava’s $113 million Margaret McDermott Bridge over the Trinity River gained the first of its two 350-foot arches, and is expected to be complete in 2017. Meanwhile, in downtown multiuse complex Victory Park, four new proposed towers, including a 20-story tower—the tallest in that complex to date—are being discussed.

No doubt, Dallas is a veritable boomtown. Here’s hoping the newest buildings are successes rather than busts, or at least, don’t burn up anything.