Greening the concrete desert: Forwarding Dallas

In downtown Dallas, a former parking lot is set to be transformed into one of the first truly sustainable building blocks in the United States. „Forwarding Dallas“ by Portuguese architects Atelier Data and Moov will feature roof gardens and 100% renewable energy supply.
„Forwarding Dallas“ is the winning design from Re:Vision Dallas, an international design competition organized by the non-for-profit organization Urban Re:Vision and the Central Dallas Community Development Corporation. The challenge, to transform a vacant inner-city block behind City Hall into a carbon-neutral community, drew hundreds of entries from top architecture firms and city planners in 14 countries worldwide. Forwarding Dallas is the product of a collaboration between Portuguese-based architectural firms Atelier Data and Moov, and will run “off the grid,” acting as a working model of sustainability for cities around the globe. Ground breaking is scheduled for early 2011.

Forwarding Dallas is modeled after one of the most diverse systems in nature, the hillside. The site is a series of valleys and hilltops, the valleys containing trees and more luxurious plants which transition into more resistant plants as the altitude increases. Atop the hills, solar thermal, photovoltaic and wind energy is harvested.
Other design components include open ‘green’ spaces, housing options from studio apartments to three bedroom flats, a rooftop water catchment system designed to recycle water collected from rooftops and store underground for later use, a 100% prefabricated construction system and public green houses, including a sensorial greenhouse, swimming pool green house and meeting point green house.
A spiritual space, gymnasium, café and exhibition space are also planned to accommodate various lifestyles. There is a temporary accommodation center as well as a daycare center designed for both children and the elderly.

Last May, three winners and three honorable mentions were selected from hundreds of entries. During the months since, Urban Re:vision and the Central Dallas CDC worked with a cadre of pro-bono executives provided by The Real Estate Council Foundation who have done extensive work on the proposed designs, including site analysis, creation of trial proformas, engineering and architectural reviews and estimates of construction costs for all three of the winning designs. During the first two weeks of November, each of the three winners flew into Dallas for additional discussion.

“All three of the design teams impressed us, both with the quality of their designs and in the interviews,” said John Greenan, Executive Director for Central Dallas CDC. “Dallas would be a richer city to have the work of any of these architects represented, but as we went further into our review, we began to see the deep logic of the MOOV-Atelier Data design, Forwarding Dallas. Forwarding Dallas seemed to us to do the best job of incorporating concepts of sustainability into the foundation of the design.”

Considerations for the selection included:
  •     Sustainability and reality of intent
  •     Affordability/Constructability: Could it be built in the next few years?
  •     Innovation and Originality
  •     Incorporation of Sustainable Materials and Practices

More about the competition and the winners
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