The Cottages Win AIA Design Award

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AIA Dallas has announced its 2017 Design Award recipients, including the Cottages at Hickory Crossing. 

The Cottages at Hickory Crossing were completed at the end of February of 2017, and is now home to 50 residents. Located on a three-acre site less than a half-mile from downtown, the Cottages at Hickory Crossing provides permanent supportive housing and support services for the fifty most chronic cases of homelessness in Dallas. The integration of thoughtful design and robust services become a comprehensive approach to overcoming the chronic challenges residents face. To best understand the needs of future residents and service providers, the pre-design process included a combination of research, focus group charrettes, and a comprehensive engagement of stakeholders in the decision-making process. 

The design is comprised of fifty, 430-square-foot cottage residences. Individual homes encourage stronger personal identity while promoting a sense of community for residents. Homes are arranged in clusters of 6-8 units to create semi-public spaces or “micro-neighborhoods”.  The 4,000-square-foot support-services building is a series of small buildings under one “porch” roof. While this building forms an urban edge at the street, it maintains a level of porosity for ease of access by residents. A series of courtyards and a common green provide flexible space for activities, from urban farming to outdoor recreation, encouraging interaction between neighbors. 

The project seeks to serve as a model for sustainable urban living by maximizing open space, incorporating on-site rainwater collection and community garden space. LEED for Homes Platinum certification is expected to be completed in early 2018.

Beyond housing, the “wrap-around services” model and its architectural responses work to break the chronic challenges that residents face. 54 formerly homeless individuals living in permanent supporting housing facilities or shelters participated in a series of focus groups during the design process. Through collaboration with support services professionals and homeless individuals, the proposed design is an alternative typology that employs small and efficient individual homes for each resident. Transitional exterior spaces enable one to navigate through varying spatial experiences, from the more secluded porch to the shared courtyard, before reaching the common green.

Project Partners

CitySquare Housing
Communities Foundation of Texas
Caruth Foundation
City Square Housing
Metrocare Services
Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance
Dallas County
UT Southwestern


Project Consultants

Permitted Development
Henley Johnston & Associates
Design & Construction Solutions, LLC
Kadleck Associates
MEP Systems
Hocker Design Group

PDII Project Wins Texas ASLA Award

Learn more about the Public Design Impact Initiative!

The Forest Hills Neighborhood Association Urban Forest Plan was awarded a 2016 Merit Award for Communications by the American Society of Landscape Architects Texas Chapter! The Merit Award for Communications "recognizes achievements in communicating landscape architecture information, technology, theory, or practice to those within or outside the profession."

Design partners for this project were Gwendolyn McGinn & Isaac Cohen.
Nonprofit partners for this project were the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association.

The following project description was written by the Design Partners for this project - Gwendolyn McGinn & Isaac Cohen:

"The Forest Hills neighborhood is distinct from others in Dallas because of it’s dense tree canopy. But the urban forest is in decline as the trees that form it’s canopy are nearing the end of their lives; many of the oaks, cedar elms, and pecans that form the canopy were established even before the neighborhood was platted. In 2015 as a part of a Public Design Impact Initiative, the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association (FHNA) collaborated with [bc] to create a plan for their urban forest.

The medians in the central boulevards of the neighborhood total almost 7 acres, and were selected as a discrete project to begin the process. The FHNA anticipates that the reforestation of the medians and the active involvement of the community in the design process will create a sense of shared responsibility towards the neighborhood’s urban forest and will encourage further planting of trees on private properties, along parkways and in yards.

Through the Public Design Impact Initiative program, [bc] partnered FHNA with landscape designers to develop a language for the urban forest. A central element of this collaboration was creating the definition of what 'urban forest' meant to the neighborhood. By clearly defining spatial and functional characteristics of the forest, all design decisions would relate back to this statement. The process of defining the urban forest of Forest Hills consisted of collecting comments from residents on existing and desired conditions, site analysis by the landscape designers and residents, and the development of a system to express existing and proposed spatial qualities of the median forests.

The Forest Hills Neighborhood Urban Forest

Ecologically, functionally, and in character the Urban Forest will reinforce the identity of Forest Hills by creating a visually appealing and ecologically valuable public realm within the boulevard medians of the neighborhood. The process of creating the urban forest plan and implementing it will build community and strengthen connections to neighboring amenities including: White Rock Lake, White Rock Creek, and the Dallas Arboretum.

Instead of creating a traditional master plan, the Urban Forest Plan describes desired spatial qualities of the medians and provides a strategy that will assist in the implementation of the forest over time as conditions within the medians change. This focus on forest qualities was the result of a series of variables that had to be accommodated in the master plan. The FHNA had to be able to implement the plan over the course of three years, and since the City of Dallas provides trees for planting, the available and approved species at the time of planting can not be predicted. To adapt to these conditions, a new way of discussing and planning with trees had to be created. Formal and spatial characteristics of trees and forests were utilized to create a vocabulary that neighbors could use to make choices and create plans without an attachment to specific tree species. The communication of these characteristics and their use in the creation of the urban forest plan allows for a wide degree of variation in implementation to fit spatial, budgetary, and ecological needs.

A community-engaged process for the creation of an urban forest plan is foremost about communication between a design team and neighborhood residents. The main question, how in a community-engaged design approach, do you provide the tools and information needed for a neighborhood to plan their physical environment? The creation of these tools and the communication of their use has been a key reason for the success of this urban forest master planning process. 

A process of core community team meetings and large neighborhood meetings allowed for a continual dialogue during the development of the urban forest definition and the Urban Forest Plan. These meeting enabled neighbors to learn about and apply complex spatial issues; tree form, forest types, spatial sequences, and rhythms. All project participants were encouraged to communicate their design intentions throughout the design process—one key example of this is that neighbors were able to complete notational sequences, diagramming their desired changes to the boulevard medians, through tree form and characters. 

Additionally, this process allowed for consistent communication between the design team, core community team, neighborhood association, and the neighborhood to answer questions of the how, what, where, why, and when so that all could participate. Questions of maintenance, the timing of new work, cost, irrigation, ecological responsibility and species diversity were all considered, as well as the ability to guide questions outside the scope of the project in an appropriate manner.  

The resulting document communicates a strategy that can be utilized by community members and expanded upon by design professionals as implementation occurs. It can be used to plant trees, create spin off projects, advocate for City work, and grow support for a variety of neighborhood projects. It communicates the value of landscape architecture and design through imparting valuable knowledge in a clear and concise manner, creating the ability for this knowledge and thought process to be expanded beyond this one project."

Rapido wins SXSW Eco Place by Design Award

Learn more about RAPIDO and other SXSW Eco award winning projects.


We are very excited to have presented RAPIDO, our disaster recovery housing pilot program, at the SXSW Eco 2015 conference this past Monday, and we are very honored to have been awarded 1st place in the Social Impact category of the Place by Design Competition

[bc]‘s Elaine Morales shared how the work of RAPIDO has created a great impact in the Rio Grande Valley, and how it can be implemented as a holistic approach to disaster recovery in other communities. The RAPIDO team designed and built 21 prototype homes with families affected by Hurricane Dolly in 2008, as well as designing a comprehensive system that empowers local teams to better prepare, respond and recover from natural disasters without sacrificing home design and quality. The audience feedback to our work was amazing and we were thrilled to have been part of the event and share experiences with entrepreneurs, designers and the general public on how to better serve the places we live in and work with. 


The Rapido model starts recovery activities prior to a disaster. We call it precovery. Precovery means pre-designing to increase the variety and quality of home designs available, pre-procurement to allow housing recovery to start at the earliest, and preparedness and training to build reliable teams that support local jurisdictions and assist families through the recovery phase. By investing in precovery activities communities will be better prepared to recover.” - [RAPIDO Place by Design Competition pitch]

The SXSW Eco 2015 Place by Design Competition validated the need of changing the culture of design practice and academia by implementing an experience based learning approach within the design process through listening to what communities have to say, learning to ask the right questions, and measuring impact.  

You can see all of the award finalists here and learn about some great place making efforts from around the world.

Texas ASLA Honor Award 2015: Race and the Control of Public Parks

We're excited to announce our project on Race and the Control of Public Parks has received an Honor Award from the Texas chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects!

According to the Texas ASLAProfessional Honor Awards are given to projects that highlight the diversity, distinction and ingenuity of landscape architecture. Race and the Control of Public Parks won in the research category, and the exhibit recognizes the ways in which the design, construction, programming, use, and alteration/renovation of public parks can reinforce divisions, both physical and perceived, between populations.  

Libros Libres wins SXSW Eco Place by Design Community Impact Award!

Read the rest of our Little Free Libraries/Libres Libros posts.

On behalf of all of the project partners, library stewards, hosts, and designers, team members Isaac Cohen and Philomena Jones were on hand to accept the award. We were incredibly honored to be named one of 15 finalist for the award and excited that we had the opportunity to share the project with all of the attendees at the SXSW Eco Conference in Austin.  You can see all of the award finalists here and learn about some great place making efforts from around the world:

We look forward to capitalizing on this award and to building more Libros Libres in Dallas!

Libros Libres a Finalist for SXSW Eco's Place by Design

Read other Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres posts.

We're excited to announce that Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres, our collaboration with Big Thought and Dallas Public Library, has been named a finalist for SXSW Eco's Place By Design competition! We'll see you in Austin this October 6-8.

Be sure to check out the other great finalists as well!

Neighborhood Stories SEED Awards Honorable Mention

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

POP Neighborhood Stories has been recognized as a 2014 SEED Award for Excellence in Public Interest Design Honorable Mention! Winning projects span the globe from Peru, Brazil, India, Israel, Mozambique, China, and the United States. We are very proud to have our work recognized along side so many great projects.

2014 SEED Award Winners: Comunidad Ecologica Saludable, Puenta Piedra, Lima Peru Can City, Sao Paulo, Brazil The Potty Project, New Delhi, India Towns Association for Environmental Quality Green Building Headquarters, Sakhnin, Israel Community How-To-Guides, Detroit, Michigan, United States Manica Football for Hope Centre, Bairro Vumba, Manica, Mozambique

Honorable Mentions:Dime Kam Minority Cultural Heritage in China, Dimen, China Walk [Your City], Raleigh, North Carolina, United States POP Neighborhood Stories, Dallas, Texas, United States

The fourth annual SEED Awards received applications from 28 countries. The SEED Award recognizes designs that address the critical social, economic, and environmental issues in the world. Winners were selected by an esteemed jury based on the following criteria: Effectiveness, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Impactful, and Systemic and Participatory. The jury members were: William Morrish, Jury Chair, of Parsons The New School of Design; Cara McCarty of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; Andres Lepik of the Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität München; Esther Yang of the Max Bond Center for Design for the Just City; and Christopher London of The New School.

bcWORKSHOP's past SEED Award winning projects include the Congo Street Initiative (Winner, 2011); Gurley Place at Jubilee Park (Honorable Mention, 2012); and Colonias Planning & Implementation (Honorable Mention, 2013).

Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence Silver Medal

The Bruner Foundation Inc., sponsor of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA), has announced its 2013 Gold and Silver Medalists, marking twenty-five years of honoring innovative urban placemaking. 

The Bruner Foundation Inc., sponsor of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA), has announced its 2013 Gold and Silver Medalists, marking twenty-five years of honoring innovative urban placemaking. Founded in 1987, the biennial award celebrates urban places distinguished by quality design and contributions to the social, economic, and communal vitality of our nation's cities. A selection committee of six urban experts determined the winners from among five finalists, naming Inspiration Kitchens-Garfield Park (Chicago, IL) the Gold Medalist and recipient of $50,000 to support the project. bcWORKSHOP congratulates Inspiration Kitchens on this accolade recognizing both its innovation and replicability.

Inspiration Kitchens—Garfield Park – Chicago, IL - submitted by Inspiration Corporation. An entrepreneurial, nonprofit initiative on Chicago’s west side that includes an 80-seat restaurant. The LEED Gold certified facility serves free and affordable healthy meals in an economically challenged neighborhood and offers a thirteen-week training program that helps individuals gain skills and experience leading to food service industry employment. “We are honored to have been chosen from the outstanding finalists to receive this award,” says Shannon Stewart, executive director and CEO, Inspiration Corporation. “We are proud of our success in creating meaningful connections in Garfield Park and are grateful that the award will help us continue to engage with members of this underserved community.”

The four 2013 RBA Silver Medalists each receive $10,000 to support their projects:

Congo Street Initiative - Dallas, TX - submitted by buildingcommunityWORKSHOP. The LEED Gold or Platinum-certified rehabilitation of five houses and the construction of a sixth for transitional housing, as well as a green street designed in collaboration with residents.

Louisville Waterfront Park – Louisville, KY – submitted by Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation. An 85-acre urban park developed over more than two decades that repurposed abandoned industrial land and reconnected the city with the Ohio River.

The Steel Yard - Providence, RI – submitted by Klopfer Martin Design Group. A 3.5-acre historic steel fabrication facility transformed into an environmentally responsible campus for arts education, workforce training, and small-scale manufacturing.

Via Verde - Bronx, NY – submitted by Jonathan Rose Companies and Phipps Houses. A 222-unit, LEED Gold certified, affordable housing development in the Bronx designed as a model for healthy and sustainable urban living.

“Our twenty-fifth anniversary Rudy Bruner Award winners highlight the diversity of innovation in our cities today,” says Simeon Bruner, founder of RBA. “They show us urban excellence at all scales and inspire us with their optimism.”

buildingcommunityWORKSHOP led the Congo Street Initiative in the transformation of a small forgotten street in the Jubilee Park neighborhood of Dallas, and in doing so presented a model for community revitalization. The initiative was built on close collaboration with residents and the successful coordination of partners, funders, and volunteers. "We are honored to have been selected as a finalist and continue to be humbled as we receive a 2013 silver medal," states Brent Brown, bcWORKSHOP's founding director.

POP Neighborhood Stories a Place by Design Finalist!

The POP Neighborhood Stories initiative was recognized this past week by SXSW Eco in Austin, TX as one of 15 finalists from 75 applicants in the Place by Design competition. The competition honors good design “having the ability to reflect a community’s culture and values and compels people to engage with their everyday surroundings.” See all of the Place by Design finalists here, and congratulations to the four great winning projects: Ballroom Luminoso, From Blight to BrightINSITU, and The Looper.

Over the last year, POP Neighborhood Stories has hosted six celebratory events in the Dallas neighborhoods of La BajadaDolphin HeightsWynnewood NorthTenth StreetMount Auburn, and the Dallas Arts District, reaching over 1,400 total participants. Each event temporarily transforms space in historic neighborhoods into a celebration of each neighborhood's unique culture and development and provides a platform for dialogue about the history and future. This series of events was made possible in part by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

We would like to extend our thanks to all of the community members and volunteers that participated in and contributed to these efforts and who make this work possible.

3313 Beall receives AIA Dallas Jury Commendation!

3313 Beall Street, bcWORKSHOP’s first completed sustainABLEhouse in the Dolphin Heights neighborhood, received a jury commendation from the 2013 AIA Dallas Built Design Awards in recognition of outstanding architectural design and achievement. Jennifer Mayfield of bcWORKSHOP was present to accept the award at the Dallas Museum of Art on October 9th. Juror comments included:

It is important to never lose sight of the social obligation that we have to frame architecture for the public...To have a group of people who are working diligently to create something that would make housing available, to include an extensive participation process, I think is of great importance, and is something we should all be proud of and encourage here in Dallas. I think we have a worldwide problem with housing and this is one way that we can address it successfully.
— Dan Rockhill, of Studio 804 at the University of Kansas