It Sold!: My House at 3216 Jacotte Circle, Dallas

3216 Jacotte CircleThe longer I have lived in this house, the more I have loved it–that must be one of the definitions of good architecture. The way the light comes into the house and changes throughout the day. The screened porch on the second floor that both protects the house from the southern sun and provides a wonderful sanctuary at all times of the day. The expanses of hardwood floor that are a foil for the lightness of the interior walls. The way that art looks hanging on the walls.

3216JacotteCircle Flyer

Real Estate Flyer for 3216 Jacotte Circle, Dallas

As a proponent of sustainable architecture and resource conservation, I have been amazed at how well the house is sited for the Texas climate. The louvered exterior doors and the screened sleeping porch allow for both ventilation and security. The orientation of the house catches the prevailing winds. The enormous Texas red oak on the west side, coupled with the glass blocks on the western facade, ensure that the hot summer sun is kept from heating up the house and provide privacy from the street. I’ve tried to enhance the house’s natural energy efficiency with my choice of heating and air-conditioning units, and my utility bills have been minuscule.

Architectural Record 9-40Howard Meyer was one of Dallas’s most significant architects and an early proponent and practitioner of modernism. Here are links to the documentary on his life: A Well-Made Object, Part One and Part Two. He designed the house for Eugene Kahn Sanger, who was president of the E.M. Kahn Company, one of the foremost mercantile establishments in Dallas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was published in the September 1940 issue of Architectural Record, as shown in this illustration.

The house is for sale at $739,000. Agents protected. Please contact me if you think this might be the house for you or for your clients.

Why I Love the State Fair of Texas

State Fair of TexasEvery year, three million individuals visit Fair Park, a National Historic Landmark, to attend the State Fair of Texas. The people who come represent every demographic in Texas. It is the place where the rich, the poor, the conservatives, the progressives, the cowgirls, the congresspeople and the kids all come. We eat the same foods, ride the same rides, have our photographs made in front of Big Texas. It’s a spectacle, for sure, and serves to remind us that we CAN all get along if we work at it.


Unfinished Spaces and New Connections

At the Latino Cultural Center

More than 150 people attended the screening of “Unfinished Spaces” this week, a film about the masterpiece Escuelas Nacionales de Arte in Havana, Cuba, unfinished for many years because of political disfavor.

The sponsoring groups felt as though the film warranted a broader audience than the architectural community, so we held it at the Latino Cultural Center.

Finding the audience was a lot of fun for me.  Although I knew a few folks in Dallas of Cuban origin, there seemed to be no organized Cuban-American groups, so I had to rely on networking to find individuals.

Unfinished Spaces Panel

Unfinished Spaces Panel: Rick del Monte, Hector Garcia, Rolando Diaz

One of the folks I came across was Rolando Díaz, a Cuban-born Dallas artist whose first return to his native country was chronicled in a 2007 documentary, Recapturing Cuba. Ro, along with architect Rick del Monte, and actor and musician Hector García, created a thought-provoking panel for the post-screening discussion. And we had a great audience: architecture aficionados, preservationists, past and future travelers to Cuba, Cuban-Americans, Mexican-Americans.

As with my work as public participation consultant for the Asian-American Cultural Center, there is nothing I love more than using my existing connections to make new ones, and sharing a deeper understanding of people and communities as a result.

Flower of the Prairie at the DMA–and West Dallas

On exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art from May 20 to August 19 is Flower of Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas, an exhibit commemorating Grosz’s impressions of Dallas in the 1950s.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the DMA will be showing Dallas-related films. One of those, Bonnie and Clyde, will be shown on Thursday, July 12. Because of the couple’s strong association with West Dallas, the DMA has asked me to give an introductory talk on the history of West Dallas and its relationship with the rest of the city. I’m looking forward to it.

Good Art

This morning I listened to a video a friend sent of work he is doing with a new band. About a third of the way through the five-minute video, I realized I had a big grin on my face. When the video was over, I had to play it again immediately.

This made me think of what I consider to be the one best criterion for determining what is good art, and that is: if listening to, viewing, or being inside of a music, art or architecture piece makes you feel really good–and want more–then that is good art. Whether you understand it or not is irrelevant.

And that is why I work with La Reunion TX, rehabbed and live in this Howard Meyer house, and volunteer for organizations like Friends of Fair Park, DOCOMOMO and Preservation Dallas: because encouraging and protecting good art makes the world a better place.