The Park at Woodall Rodgers

by Chris Jagers April 22, 2010


serene 5.2-acre park being built over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway is a
small piece of land that will radically change Dallas. Previously, the
system of highways surrounding downtown has choked it into a something
of a dead zone. This new park will break that strangle hold by bridging
the Dallas Arts District and Uptown. The overview page
of the park’s website
states that “connectivity is central to the
Park’s purpose.” What was once an impassable highway will be covered
with “a performance pavilion, restaurant, walking trails, a dog park, a
children’s discovery garden and playground, water features, an area for
games and much more.”

Beyond connecting Dallas with itself, I also
believe this park will connect Dallas with the national community and
transform itself into a destination (much like Millennium Park in
Chicago). While the momentum generated by the Arts District is huge, it
will be the Park that unifies the disparate parts into a single “thing” that is
easily accessible both physically and conceptually.

The new model was
unveiled this week at the Dallas Center for Architecture in conjunction
with Earth Day to celebrate the park’s ecological sustainability (which
is significant). The model itself is sleek and over 80% green, just as
the real park will be when it opens in Spring 2012.


GREEN FACTS (don’t worry, I will get to the art

The Park will have 322
trees, 904 shrubs, 3,292 assorted plants

Most trees will be the
Texas-native Panache Red Oaks

Other trees include
Bur Oak, Pond Cypress, River Birch, Pistache and Lacebark Elm

Plants will include 32
native Texas species

There will be 40,000
square feet of lawn

The Park’s trees will
sequester an estimated 7 tons of carbon per year at maturity

The water features
will use a water reclamation system and a double purification system
will substantially reduce the use of potable water and the disposal of
“dirty” water

Over 80% of the park is irrigated with a
high-efficiency capillary irrigation subsurface system (KISSS) The
high-efficiency irrigation system will limit water lost to overspray and
evaporation. This will save about 350,000 gallons a year over a
conventional overhead spray system


In short, the Art
Committee is getting to that. Currently, the model only showcases a
variety of water features which help keep the area cool and cancels
noise from traffic. In the model, the most prominent water feature is a
fountain poised prominently at the end like a giant, heavenly
toilet bowl. While the glass/water fusion may be beautiful, I do not
love this form…so I asked about it and the art situation in general.

Here’s the story: the
art has not been decided on yet. The toilet bowl is a placeholder until a
donor is found. Then, the donor will work with the Art Committee to
make a decision about whether to go with this fountain, or to commission
a public artwork. I REALLY hope they do the latter. This is an
opportunity to do something really iconic, which will punctuate the
whole area for maximum effect. Anish Kapoor’s
mirrored form at Millennium Park is a prime example.
A great piece has the
power to become a symbol for the whole place, a face which everyone
recognizes. For some reason, I keep wondering what Olafur Eliasson would do with this

There are also plans
to have smaller outdoor artworks to intersperse with the trees, but I
believe there is a “wait and see” attitude so decisions can be made in
response to how the park is actually being used. This sounds like a
smart approach to me. And for the record, I do not share the opinion
that the park should host “a lot” of local artwork. I say keep it clean
and iconic.

Ultimately these
decisions must wait for more money to be raised. Naming rights are still
open for the entire park and for elements within the park.

The Park Website
This is the
authoritative resource for everything about the park. The site hosts
great renderings, 3DModels, videos and descriptions of everything being

My Photos of the

These pictures were
taken at the unveiling earlier this week. As far as I can tell, they are
the most recent photos available.

Very Cool

In searching the web
for great 3D visualizations of the park in context, this was the coolest
picture by far. Made in 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop. Architect: HKS ,
Green Grass Studios, USA

Chris Jagers
is an artist & entrepreneur with a passion for Art and
He is the Founder/CEO of, which provides a web-based
system to institutions wanting to streamline their process of
application & review. Christopher earned his MFA from the
University of Washington and his BFA from SMU, Meadows School of the



Chris Jagers April 23, 2010 - 09:23

Afterthought: Maya Lin would be a great choice.

Grant Bynum June 8, 2015 - 11:46

Now that the Park has been built, it seems to really be living up to expectations. It definitely makes it easier to enjoy a green lifestyle in downtown dallas. Plenty of park events as well, and a few fun restaurants too!


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