Faced with an open area at Camp Wisdom Station, the Dallas-based architecture firms Perkins and Will had all arrows pointing to one thing: opportunities.
Led by Design Director Ron Stelmarski, the studio recently completed the $ 10.5 million legacy project in the historically underserved neighborhood south of downtown.
The Singing Hills Recreation is the first of its kind in Dallas and designed as a platform for social interaction. The center is inextricably linked to downtown Dallas and offers expanded economic opportunities and social connections. Erected along the newly extended blue DART railway line, the building serves as an arrival gate and symbol for a fairer future for the region.
“When you go to an area and it is a little underserved, not only do you not have access to health and wellness issues, but sometimes you also have no access to a job,” Stelmarski told D CEO. “We have combined the wellness option with opportunities to be connected to the city center and other workplaces, and that reinforces the situation.”
The facility is not only called Singing Hills, but is actually located on a hill. Located on a limestone cliff, the designers were inspired by the shape and behavior of the website. The natural environment contributed to the property as it uses it to their advantage while connecting vehicle, train, and trail networks that meet outside of the recreation center. Perkins and Will used a simple design form to focus on the social infrastructure side.
“It was really about opening up the landscape completely, creating views and making connections between people and other people,” said Stelmarski.
Perkins and Will took inspiration from the Singing Hills to design the new facility.
Stelmarski said the designers created a southern pine canopy to give guests a warm and natural feeling by taking advantage of the property’s preexisting qualities. Further inspirations for the project are Stelmarski’s experiences from projects in other cities in which a train conveys an attitude towards life.
“When the train passes by, this sense of time is actually very interesting. It feels like a heartbeat. “
“When the train goes by, this sense of time is actually very interesting,” said Stelmarski. “It feels like a heartbeat. Even if there are only a few visitors to the leisure center one day, the train stops every 15 minutes or so and you can hear the bells ringing. “
Public service projects like this serve as the fabric of communities, and Perkins and Will took this idea to create a level of porosity to embody connectedness, and this theme propelled the company’s decision-making for the process. To be selected, the city of Dallas had a public invitation for companies; then the company was interviewed and selected as the architect.
Singing Hills Sports Hall.
One of the highlights of the property is that the gym has been pushed half a level into the ground to prevent people from being confronted with a monstrosity of a building when getting out. Because half of the gym is underground, there is no glass down there and the top half is a mix of glass and metal. As people walk past the building, they can get a glimpse of the activity from a vantage point.
The space is also used strategically to allow future builders to later expand the gym to double its size. The southern part extends south to create shade and shade everywhere, and the western side has curved walls that follow along the road to give that sense of connectedness.
“Our best work results from a balance and overlap between something very pragmatic and something very demanding,” said Stelmarski.