Architecture and Design

Is Texas Woman's University the Fugliest Building in Dallas?

A few years ago, the Observer began a series calling out what we thought were some of the area's ugliest buildings. The AT&T office building at Bryan Street and Haskell Avenue, the Dallas World Trade Center, the Turley Law Center on Central Expressway, Irving's convention center, Dallas City Hall. (That last one might come down more to personality than looks. As they say, beauty is skin deep; it's what's inside that matters.)  We're back at it, saying mean things about some of DFW's architectural eyesores. Got your own nominees for fugliest? Drop us a line in the comments.

The women's movement has accomplished a lot. A woman is even about to become president. (Maybe. Probably. Pray.) But womankind has recently experienced one very large setback. We mean, of course, Texas Woman’s University's Dallas campus, which might be the fugliest building in all of the city.

There you are driving south on Interstate 35E, when from the corner of your eye, a hideous building demands your attention. No, not the World Trade Center. That's fugly too, but at least it's short and a shade of brown that almost has a camouflage effect.

This one is glaring white. It's the Texas Woman's University building — or if you want to get official, the TWU T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences - Dallas Center. Do you see the Texas Man’s University Dallas center looking like this? No, because men get nicer things and also because that school doesn’t exist.

According to its website, the center opened in February 2011, combining the school’s Parkland and Presbyterian sites into eight stories shielded from ghastly natural light thanks to your toddler niece, who covered the building's exterior with white chalk. Pickens donated $5 million toward the building, which explains why his name is on it, but given that it is the Texas Woman's University, it is still a bit strange.

But that’s beside the point. The point is it looks like TWU once did some research and thought sick people might heal more quickly if they lie on white bed sheets surrounded by white walls and then decided to apply that theory to the entire building. Apparently, it doesn’t work. While visiting, we overheard a young woman on the phone freaking out about an exam she'd taken. Even with the supposedly calming white building in her line of vision, she said she thought she was going to be sick. Us too, just looking around at the hulking thing.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner