Making Space within Place Conference – Panel I: Isabel Castilla

TCLF’s latest conference, Second Wave of Modernism IV: Making Space within Place, was held on October 4, 2019, in the Horchow Auditorium at the Dallas Museum of Art. The conference featured several Dallas-based experts who were joined by others from throughout the United States. The topics were equally varied and timely, focusing on the role that landscape architects have played in laying the foundation for today’s planning and design work (exploring several iconic projects completed in the Dallas Arts District over the past 35 years); city projects that balance design against natural and cultural values, and the imperative to deal with climate change; how a public-private partnership was able to facilitate the development of priority parks in the urban core; and recent innovations in creative management and stewardship. To learn more about the conference, please visit:

Panel I: Transforming the Downtown Core:
Isabel Castilla, ASLA, Principal, James Corner Field Operations

West End Square- Balancing History and Innovation
West End Square, located at the center of Dallas’ West End Historic District, presents an extraordinary opportunity to create a vibrant and world-class public space- a next generation neighborhood park that is both a great civic space and an armature for innovation. Today, the West End Historic District is one of the leading tourist attractions in the City of Dallas. In recent years, the West End has experienced growth in residential development, as well as an influx of both new and adaptive reuse in commercial developments geared towards creative and innovative companies. Recently rebranded as the Dallas Innovation District, over 32 tech, media and innovation companies occupy the West End today. This spirit of innovation echoes the historic district’s original positioning as a manufacturing district— a district of making.

The design of West End Square, developed by James Corner Field Operations for Parks for Downtown Dallas seeks to balance history and innovation, creating a much-needed neighborhood park catered to the District’s growing population and a testing ground for incorporating technology in a public space both as a means to support maintenance and operations but also as a public amenity in itself.

To that end, the Square’s design creates two unique environments. The first, is a U-shaped trellis framing three edges of the site, envisioned as a flexible armature for a plug-and-play approach to technologies, allowing these to be incorporated over time as the square’s uses and needs evolve while supporting the daily uses, occasional programming and seasonal interactive installations. In contrast, the interior of the Square is composed of organically shaped planting beds planted with a palette inspired by the Texas Blackland Prairies creating a much-needed place of respite within the Downtown Core.



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