Sasaki won an invited competition to develop a plan for the Dallas Arts District, providing an urban design framework for private investment in and public improvements to a key 17-block section of downtown Dallas. The plan ensures that privately developed buildings and publicly financed amenities will create a lively, attractive downtown pedestrian environment. The district offers a variety of activities day and night and provides a truly unique environment in the downtown area. By creating compact, mixed-use development, the plan creates accessible open space and minimized auto reliance. From the master plan, three major elements have been implemented. Flora Street is the connector and unifying element that knits together the many diverse activities of the Dallas Arts District. The Bettty B. Marcus Park provides an inviting area for public use. Artist Square provides the arts community with a working performance and exhibition area. New projects have also been built in the district fronting on Flora Street reinforcing the original master plan vision.
Designed primarily as a pedestrian area, this 2,000-foot street is the city's first downtown landscaped spine. Flora Street is the front door to major cultural institutions and to private and semi-private developments. Three distinct zones are thematically linked to prime cultural attractions. Museum Crossing is a collection of boutiques, galleries, and art shops, Concert Lights centers on the Dallas Concert Hall with theater-oriented restaurants and clubs, and Fountain Plaza creates an artists' quarter ambience with gourmet shops and open air markets.
Sasaki designed and implemented the new urban landscape of Flora Street, making it into a shaded, tree-lined street for the arts and private development. Sasaki Associates also provided landscape architectural and civil engineering services for a prototypical block of Flora Street, a primarily pedestrian street which extends the length of the Dallas Arts District. Flora Street is the first landscaped green district in downtown Dallas, with amenities such as street furniture, lighting, special paving, and graphics. Over time, the completion of Flora Street has included many of the design elements proposed by Sasaki.
Betty B. Marcus Park
The three-quarter-acre garden park is next to the Meyerson Symphony Center. Sasaki Associates' design for the park creates an inviting area for public use just off Flora Street, and also acts as an enhancement for Symphony Center. Park features include informal granite paving in a grid pattern, several dozen canopy trees planted in lawn and ground cover, an area for dining with tables, chairs, and umbrellas, and a linear fountain spilling water from a series of granite spouts. The park is a deckscape over a parking garage.
The park was named in honor of Betty B, Marcus, former Park Board President and Dallas civic leader, who participated extensively in the entire city design process.
Artist Square is an open, green, park-like space with extensive tree plantings subdividing the site into two sections. Included are a ticket/restroom kiosk, an open pavilion, an enclosed studio, and two stages in outdoor performance areas. Four artists representing important Dallas art groups were part of the design team. Sasaki provided architecture, landscape architecture, and civil engineering design services.