Singing Hills Leisure Center / Perkins&Will
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Manufacturers: Carlisle SynTec, Firestone Building Products, Guardian Glass, Wood systems, amstrong, Bridge lock, Moussa, Nucor Vulcraft/Verco Group, Oldcastle building envelope, Robbins Bio-Cushion LP, Texasstone Careers, Zandur
Text description provided by the architects. The design of the Singing Hills Recreation Center began with a modest budget and program located on the outskirts of downtown Dallas. The site offered a summit punctuated by natural limestone outcrops, a densely forested environment and proximity to a new transit line. Growing enthusiasm for the project led to a series of community meetings where participants generated a list of aspirations for the building, asking that it become a beacon, have a clear identity and prioritize sustainability. community and the natural landscape.
Through engagement with the public and interpretation of their purposes, the design team conceived the building as site infrastructure, uniting the networks of vehicles, trains, bicycles and the environment to form a layered space for social exchange and well-being. To achieve this expression, the designers have located the building as close as possible to the train line, connecting the two by direct pathways and a tree-lined square.
A key design strategy was to carve the gymnasium into the hillside to follow the topography of the site and reduce the volumetric clutter of the space, thereby maintaining a human scale and introducing surprising viewpoints into the activities of the gymnasium.
The design of the building engages and reinterprets the surrounding natural environment. The existing tree canopy is abstracted as an undulating aerial plane, framing the views, revealing the activities within, and allowing the natural terrain to visually flow through the building. Filtering, layering and sifting strategies enlighten inner expression and provide a restorative framework that blends with the natural ecosystem. Exclusive use of native Texas plants and a carpet of wildflowers restores the site’s natural flora to a pre-development state.
The Singing Hills Recreation is a place for social interaction, designed to encourage the most overlapping of activities. This new public facility has a clear identity as a place to gather the community and encourage healthy behaviors. Boasting a historically underserved neighborhood, the design offers a human scale experience with a high level of civic presence.
This is achieved through a clear concept that revolves around a simple material palette and refined details. Direct access to downtown Dallas via light rail provides expanded economic opportunities and allows the center to serve as a symbol and gateway to a more equitable future for the region.