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.

New sAh Underway

Read about other sustainABLEhouse projects.

Construction drawings have been completed for the first client-driven sustainABLEhouse in Dallas. The client, an 81 year old resident of the Frazier and Bertrand neighborhoods, was brought to the bcWORKSHOP through a partnership with Frazier Revitalization Inc.  FRI enlisted bcW to provide the engagement + design services for the new 750 sf home and its wooded site just blocks from the client's existing home of 29 years.

Engagement + design occurred onsite and at the client's current home over a three week period in July 2013. The client responded very well to the design process, eagerly filling out the initial homework assignment following the first meeting, to help bcW understand his family structure, how he uses his current home, and any specific needs that the forthcoming design could help address.  In subsequent design meetings, the client was whole-heartedly engaged and his growing excitement was clear. Throughout the process, the client was very attentive to considerations such as durability, maintenance, functionality, and budget.  After participating in the design process, the resulting home design will be one that is most suited for the client's personal and family needs.

Over the course of the month, a design was developed that reflects the client's family-focused life and love for his wooded site. The home will sit gently on the site behind an enormous pecan tree and among a mixture of a dozen established bois d'arc and hackberry trees.  A small open porch at the front of the home will greet the street, originally designed at the client's request to host his frequent domino matches. Since design has begun, however, this porch has shifted to become the "card porch" as client's gaming taste has changed (according to the doctor, playing dominoes gives him high blood pressure). The "L" shaped home will wrap around a fenced backyard where the client's grandchildren will be able to safely play away from the street, while additional family members gather in the wide open living, dining, and kitchen space.

Bidding for the construction of the home will now ensue and construction will follow. The goal is to have the client in his new home by the end of the year.

Tenth Street Stories

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

On Saturday evening, June 15th, the bcWORKSHOP team got together with the Tenth Street community for the fourth Neighborhood Stories event. We partnered with two churches founded in the neighborhood, Greater El Bethel Missionary Baptist and Elizabeth Chapel CME Church, for a choir performance. Neighbors and visitors enjoyed a potluck BBQ dinner, followed by a sunset screening of a film featuring interviews with current and former residents and those who have been involved with the neighborhood over the years. A gallery exhibit and booklet communicated Tenth Street's rich history and strong culture through photos and maps. Approximately 150 people attended the event, sharing their memories and dreams for the neighborhood on an interactive map and a rope line that stretched across the site.

Watch the Tenth Street film.

Wynnewood North Stories

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

As part of the bcWORKSHOP’s POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative, Dallas Neighborhood Stories will produce a series of events that engage Dallas’s diverse communities in an active dialogue about the history and future of the city. 

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 11th, the third exhibit in the Neighborhood Stories series was held in Wynnewood North, a neighborhood in Oak Cliff. Conceived, constructed, and marketed as part of Angus Wynne, Jr.’s groundbreaking high-design, midcentury development, Wynnewood North combines single-family homes, apartments, and a retail core to function as a “city within a city” that has maintained its character over the years and is making strides towards re-imagining itself for the future.

The history and evolution of the neighborhood were displayed in a gallery exhibit that included a “mock up” living room featuring midcentury modern furniture on loan from Collage 20th Century Furniture. Event visitors stopped by for movie snacks before heading into a screening of a short film featuring interviews with local residents Janice Coffee, Joseph Hernandez, Anita Johnson, Steve Johnson, Silver Poteete, Ruby Sam, and Reverend Johnny Flowers. Attendees had the opportunity to contribute their own personal stories and memories about the neighborhood as well as play “So You Want to Build...Wynnewood Village”, an interactive game that generated ideas for the future development of Wynnewood Village Shopping Center.

Watch the Wynnewood North film.

The next event will be held in the Tenth Street Historic District - please contact us if you'd like to get involved!

Dolphin Heights Stories

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

As part of the bcWORKSHOP’s POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative, Dallas Neighborhood Stories will produce a series of six events that engage Dallas’s diverse communities in an active dialogue about the history and future of the city.

See more photos on our Facebook page. 

On the afternoon of Saturday, March 16th, the second exhibit in the Neighborhood Stories series was held in Dolphin Heights, a neighborhood in East Dallas. Home to one of the oldest inhabited sites in Dallas, Dolphin Heights has transformed over the past 170 years from a pioneer homestead to a resilient, though isolated, single-family neighborhood punctuated by a diverse set of land uses.

The history and evolution of the community was displayed in an exhibit and a short film featured interviews with current and former neighborhood residents Anna Hill, Ollie Lyons, George Collins, Carolyn Elliot, Walter Isler, and Laura Watson, as well as SMU professor of anthropology Dr. Caroline Brettell. Attendees had opportunities to contribute their own personal stories and memories about the neighborhood and enjoyed food from local restaurants and businesses including Luna's, Schepps Dairy, and RC Cola. In a nod to the circus that used stop in the neighborhood, kids played a selection of carnival games and faced off in an epic cornhole battle.

Watch the Dolphin Heights film.

Upcoming events will be held in Wynnewood North, Tenth Street, and Mount Auburn - please contact us if you'd like to get involved!

Design for Community Advocates

Learn more about our Dallas work.

ACT (Advocates for Community Transformation) is an inner-city justice ministry based in West Dallas. ACT’s mission is to represent inner-city residents and mobilize volunteer legal teams in order to hold the owners of drug houses and abandoned properties accountable.  ACT’s legal work addresses this need through an ongoing casework approach supported by a strategy for structural prevention. In order to continue seeking transformation in these neighborhoods, ACT has determined that it is crucial to establish a permanent presence in West Dallas by building its own office. The new office will allow the organization to grow its work as well as demonstrate that ACT is committed long-term to the West Dallas community.

bcWORKSHOP has begun the process to design a new headquarters for Advocates for Community Transformation. This process has involved a series of staff and stakeholder meetings to determine project intentions, building program, and site strategy. The goal is to ensure that the building is driven by and enhances ACT’s mission and responds to the West Dallas context and community.

From a quality model exercise, priorities identified for the design included:

  • Interior qualities - The ACT team needs an environment that supports its work with quiet places to concentrate as well as team orientated spaces where collaborations flourish.  Carefully placed thresholds will allow ACT to showcase its work to visitors as well as maintain confidentiality of its strategy and clients. The office should feel welcoming, homelike and safe to all employees, guests and clients.
  • Safety/Security - The building and property needs to be safe and secure for all employees,guests and clients. Measures such as a secure building envelope, secure thresholds, clear separations between private and public spaces and additional security technology will all be explored to create the necessary level of safety for the site and building.
  • Engineering Performance - Heating and cooling systems should be chosen based on efficiency and life cycle costs. A robust and flexible IT infrastructure will insure technical connectivity throughout the entire building.
  • Community Values - The project should reflect ACT’s commitment to being a stable presence in the community as well as a safe place for its clients and staff. The building is a physical investment in the neighborhood that should reflect ACT’s mission to transform communities through thoughtful and diligent work.The scale and intimacy of the building should reflect its neighborhood.

Three schematic design options have been created by bcW and presented to key stakeholders.  In the upcoming months bcW, with direction from ACT and an approved budget, will further develop the building strategy. Once the schematic design is approved, bcWORKSHOP will compile a funding package featuring the proposed building, design process, and a preliminary budget.

TEDx SMU + TEDx Kids

Learn more about POP Dallas.

On November 30 and December 1, 2012, bcWORKSHOP was invited to participate in the TEDxKids @ SMU (a special TED event for local middle school students) and TEDxSMU conferences to showcase our POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative. Now in its fourth year, TEDxSMU brought a multitude of creative thinkers to the City Performance Hall in the Arts District to share and discover innovative ideas in technology, entertainment and design.

Following the conference's theme of re:TH!NK, over 400 attendees on both days shared their ideas for re-thinking the neighborhoods where they live, learn, work and play through activity cards, video interviews and good old-fashioned conversation. During the day, bcWORKSHOP created a compilation of Neighborhood Stories collected throughout the conference as well as a map of representing attendees' neighborhoods, which was screened at the end of the conference.

Conference participants were eager to share ideas for their own neighborhoods and absorb the ideas shared by others from around the city. With the POP City Map as a guide, attendees left armed with a strengthened understanding and commitment to place-making in Dallas.

La Bajada Stories

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

The event celebrated this century-old Mexican American neighborhood.
The event celebrated this century-old Mexican American neighborhood.

View more photos of the event on our Facebook page.

On the evening of  November 17th, the first exhibit was held in La Bajada, a residential neighborhood dating back to the 1930s just west of Downtown Dallas. La Bajada's story was told through an exhibit of the events that shaped the neighborhood and a short film that featured interviews with neighborhood residents: Pete Martinez, Anita Martinez, Gloria Lopez, Ysidro Huerta, Sr. and Ysidro Huerta, Jr., John Zapata Gonzalez, and Felix Lozada. Guests had opportunities to contribute their own personal stories and memories about the neighborhood through recorded interviews and enjoyed tacos, tamales, and pastries from Taquería La Chilanga and La Estrella Bakery. By far the most popular activity was sledding down the slopes of the Trinity River levees, a common neighborhood recreation first enjoyed more than 60 years ago.

Neighborhood Stories: La Bajada was presented with the assistance of the Dallas Mexican American Historical League and the West Dallas Community Centers.

Neighborhood Stories - Arts District

Learn more about POP Dallas and Neighborhood Stories.

On October 27-28, 2012, bcWORKSHOP was a part of a monumental project for Dallas: the grand opening of Klyde Warren Park. The celebration commemorated an innovative park that decks over a portion of Woodall Rodgers Freeway, providing valuable new civic space and connecting Uptown and the Dallas Arts District.

bcWORKSHOP had a substantial presence at the park opening, engaging visitors on Harwood Street around our POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative as they passed between the new park and the Arts District. The centerpiece was a Dallas Neighborhood Stories exhibit inside our 45’ retrofitted shipping container that examined the evolution of today’s Arts District from its origins as the juncture of the Freedman’s Town/North Dallas, Little Mexico, and Ross Avenue neighborhoods, and how major interventions - the construction of Central Expressway, the construction of Woodall Rodgers Freeway, and the master plan for the Arts District - affected physical and social change.

The POP City Map also made an appearance; more than 200 people marked their Dallas neighborhoods, with dozens more showing their pride in places from Irving and Lancaster to Brazil and France. Finally, hundreds of revelers shared pictures and stories about where they live on the container itself and on camera in the Story House.

The weekend affirmed how strongly people identify and connect with their neighborhoods as well as the importance of understanding the decisions and actions that have shaped our city over time. We had a great time at the opening and look forward to bringing our exhibit back to the Arts District soon!

Park(ing) Day 2012

Learn more about our work in Dallas, and our Neighborhood Stories initiative as part of POP Dallas.

PARK(ing) Day is an international one-day celebration of people re-purposing parking for other activities not centered on the car. For Dallas's second annual PARK(ing) Day, we brought our 20-foot long commissary container over to the one of the parking spaces along downtown Main Street. Inside the container, we displayed the POP City Map along with a map locating green spaces in Downtown Dallas. A small theater was set up for projecting our collected Neighborhood Stories, while we also recorded new ones them from passersby on the street. Outside, visitors played board games and placed notes on the exterior of the container sharing what they love about Downtown.

Down the road on South Ervay, we also set up Dallas's first Parklet in front of our office. Created in partnership with Downtown Dallas, Incorporated, the parklet carries the spirit of PARK(ing) Day by making the transformation from vehicle parking to pedestrian space more permanent.

Neighborhood Stories

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

Neighborhood Stories is an effort of bcWORKSHOP to strengthen awareness of our city, celebrate the diverse places that give it character and texture, and create a platform for active dialogue about its history and future. Neighborhood Stories celebrates individual voices through interviews with residents and other neighborhood stakeholders as part of bcWORKSHOP’s POP Dallas (People Organizing Place) initiative, a public interest design effort to strengthen the identity and vitality of our city’s neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are the scale of space where we most naturally interact--the space of our everyday lives--and where we form the communities that help shape ourselves. The stories people share about where they live--their memories, their concerns, their dreams--show us why place matters.

Welcome Lauren Powers!

Lauren Powers is a designer who believes strongly in the accountability of design impacts and opportunities on environmental, social, and cultural systems. Born and raised in the Portland, OR, Lauren studied architecture, interior architecture, and environmental design at the University of Oregon where she received her Bachelor of Architecture in 2011. Lauren spent a term of her study abroad in Italy where she examined community development around the Italian piazza, as well as the relationship between time, place, and building material and details. At the U of O, she was a member of designBridge, a multi-disciplinary student organized community design build organization. She worked on several design build projects throughout the community of Eugene, OR, interested in fostering community relationships through thoughtful development of public spaces. Lauren is interested in understanding the unique story every person, place, community and building has to share. She is very excited to be joining bcWORKSHOP and can’t wait to start exploring Dallas, TX.