In Defense of Downtown Dallas’ New LED Obsession.

As I sit at my desk looking out over the grassy knoll, and farther on to Reunion Tower, I can’t help but be enamored by the blinking lights of the gigantic ball sitting atop the landmark. To me, the playful dancing lights brings back so many memories of Dallas and helps renew the passion that I have for this great city.

Driving in to Dallas at night on the way back from family vacations, the skyline was lit up like a beacon, a direction to my hometown.

From the Bank of America building casting a green glow on I.M. Pei’s Fountain Place and lighting it up like a green stick of kryptonite to Welton Becket’s Reunion Tower, I will always recognize the skyline of this great city I call home.

I vividly remember the first time I ever ventured into Reunion Tower; I thought it was so futuristic-looking that it might as well have been from another planet. I remember thinking about how cool the future could be, especially if this was only an indicator of the present.

Fast forward 25 years, and Dallas is booming with such futuristic ideals. Through the didactic lessons learned from great artists such as Dan Flavin, James Turrell or Louis Kahn we can flatly see the ways in which people have applied these lessons to our city and its public spaces. That specific lesson? How light and color interacts with space, and how these elements make us stop and admire a particular area or object.

Here in Dallas, we can see that there is something beautifully poetic about the way certain buildings or objects are lit up at night. And, yes, it is beautiful. See, there’s a method behind all this new Downtown Dallas lightning madness.

Look at the Dallas Omni Hotel, the Margaret Hunt Bridge and all of the new amazing additions in the arts district, and one can’t help but think that Dallas has finally leaped into this new century. Led by so many Pritzker Prize winning architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Renzo Piano, Thom Mayne and I.M. Pei, this city is growing quickly and fast becoming one of the most exceptional architectural cities around. And, in the process, it’s giving us Dallasites a whole new perspective on Downtown.

Like Dan Flavin, who used fluorescent tube lighting to create amazing spaces through the use of light and color, the Omni Hotel follows in a LED suit, creating a new facade for our city. The Margret Hunt Bridge, meanwhile, will soon be our gateway to our city’s west, and the Winspear Opera House adds fascinating dramatic character element.

Dallas is certainly a city on the rise in the 21st century — and those bright lights dancing in the night will always be a part of this city that we call home.

These new additions to our skyline not only brighten up our city, but they’ll also provide us something greater — a back-drop for our children’s futuristic-minded dreams.

No more articles