It's a complaint that's been made repeatedly since the AT&T Performing Arts Center made its October bow: The buildings are beautiful, but the spaces in between -- "a Cobb salad of unrelated elements," in the words of the late, great David Dillon -- leave something to be desired. To that list of critics add Jared Langevin of jargon, etc., who, at the end of last week, pointed out "5 Frustrating Things about the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts."
Among them: You can't walk there from anywhere else (which the Woodall Rodgers Deck Park should solve for some), why car-heavy streets instead of pedestrian-friendly plazas, and, natch, Sammons Park is a bust. In short: Don't trust conceptual renderings. An excerpt:
In between shows, the Center for the Performing Arts does not possess any sort of draw to those who might be passing by, and it certainly has not yet become an urban destination for Dallas residents. In fact, as I walked around the Center and its venues, I never encountered a single person, although the weather was pleasant and nearby streets in the city were full of activity. It was an eery reminder that more often than not, the character of the spaces between buildings and not the buildings themselves is what governs a sustained public presence in urban areas. Here, the close proximity of two glimmering new constructions by some of the most famous architects in the world was evidently of little consequence to the citizens of Dallas. Why would it be? The buildings themselves are closed during most hours, the outdoor spaces surrounding them are devoid of program, and the carefully manicured grass and rough concrete surfaces are hardly inviting places to sit down and take in the day.
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Offered with a tip o' the cap to Archinect.