At CityWalk@Akard, Architects Are Turning a Loading Dock Into a Playground

There weren't supposed to be many kids at CityWalk@Akard. The 200 units at the downtown office building-turned subsidized apartment complex were small, closet-less studios and one-bedroom units, and half were set aside for the formerly homeless or those at risk of becoming so. But there they are: 38 kids, from 0 to 18, living in the old mid-century building on Akard Street.

That has highlighted one glaring problem with the otherwise successful housing project.

"Right now, they don't have anywhere to play," said Kim Williford, co-chair of the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects. "If you go there you'll see them playing on the roof deck, jumping off trash cans, pushing their trucks down the hallway."

That's why the AIA Dallas Emerging Leaders program is working on designing and building a pretty awesome-looking playground in an unused loading dock at the property. You can see the details above or take a virtual walk-through at the project's website.

The architects are all volunteers but, save for the monkey bars and swings salvaged from Coppell Kid Country, the other stuff costs money. Stuff like paying a contractor to prep the space and, per Williford, "clean pigeon poop off the floor." That's all expected to cost somewhere around $50,000, about a fifth of which has been raised so far.

The AIA folks hope to woo corporate donors and bring in a decent haul at a $20-per-person cocktail reception slated for October 5.

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