Sex. Politics. Religion. All are safer topics of cocktail chatter than the current battle between Museum Tower and the Nasher, especially within the arts community. And still, nobody can stop talking about it.
Is there a responsibility for an architect to work with a skyline, rather than flexing on its neighbors? Is unloading your building's reflective heat onto another ethically sound? Do some parts of town, like cultural hubs, deserve closer moderation than residential ones, or is that an elitist attitude? Will we ever get our Picasso back? I miss Turrell. Can't buildings get drive-through tint jobs? Could Etsy artists yarn bomb the thing?
No matter what angle the discussion stems from, people are embroiled in tension. And until now there's been a surprising lack of open public involvement, just a lot of embittered individuals (myself included) angrily talking shit while knocking back wine. The Dallas Architecture Forum will host an event at the Dallas Museum of Art on Saturday, September 8 at 2:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend and hear what architect Vel Hawes and the Dallas Arts District Executive Director Veletta Lill have to say on the topic.
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They'll be joined by other panelists, and by Think's Krys Boyd, who will moderate the event. It will be interesting to hear what our most insider insiders have to say about the situation as they address the following topics:
At what point should the built environment be held to a higher standard? Should the City itself be the arbiter of such criteria and if so, by what mechanism? Is an Arts District, or any other site of cultural import, a sensitive context requiring special legal protections or tools such as an Environmental Impact Statement? What are the limits of a 'pro-development' mindset?
When it's all over, I say we take our pitchforks, torches, giant reflective mirrors and other southern riot gear over to the Nasher, and finally have that community Tan-In I've been asking for. Let's do this.