With few exceptions, the north Texas landscape is flat, hot and braided by massive concrete highways. Caught in the vortex is Las Colinas, a 12,000-acre mixed-use development, where one enters their office though a darkened garage and glides from auto to elevator without so much as a whiff of grass cuttings. Sidewalks are scarce to non-existent, proof that Architecture has the irreducible capacity to cleave the human population from nature.
The convention center is a counter proposal to culture of containment that has proliferated in the DFW Metroplex. Convention goers and meeting attendees will discover this antidote in the non-programmed space that constructs a set of outdoor experiences in the form of ramps, stairs and expansive plein-air roof terraces. The stair-ramp-ways open a dialogue of free and independent movement that we associate with civic space. These non-programmed spaces invite the chance, spontaneous encounters where people are most likely to engage each other.
Transparency and Illusion
Cantilevers of steel and mesh produce vast areas of shade. The copper perforated panels subvert expectations of weight and mass and offer transparency and illusion. The copper skin also acts as a shade for the building while allowing wind to naturally cool the building.
Structural Solutions for Soft Soils
The stacked program was conceived as a multi-layered strategy to address poor soils requiring deep caissons among other criteria. The formal integration of the strategy oscillated between subtractions of environmental costs and additions of indoor/ outdoor spaces that would become comfortable, inviting places. Hybrid catenary trusses support the stacked/rotated floors above the clear-span 270’ x 190’ exhibit hall.
The project is LEED certified for its integration of sustainable principles and generative design. Use of untreated water from Lake Carolyn for flushing toilets, irrigation and make-up water supply to cooling towers: Estimated consumption reduced by 19 million gallons/yr; 3,600 tons of recycled steel sourced from old vehicles by North Texas supplier; 150 tons of milled, perforated copper panels fabricated in the city of Irving.