Singing Hills Recreation and Senior Center

Dallas, TX
Construction Cost: 10,500,000
Area / Square Feet: 25,826
Occupancy Date: December 2020

The Singing Hills Recreation Center is a first of its kind in Dallas — a community-focused facility in a historically underserved neighborhood, connected to a commuter rail station. The facility is a platform for social interaction, where human activities — recreation, community, education — intersect.

Built as an integral part of the station on a newly extended rail line, the center links to downtown. One stop to the south, the line connects to a satellite campus of the University of North Texas. For those traveling to Singing Hills and the university, the center serves as an arrival gateway and a symbol of a more equitable future for the area.

The project site is defined by a natural limestone outcropping, offering views of the Dallas skyline over densely wooded surroundings. The tree canopy is abstracted in the form of an undulating overhead plane, framing views, revealing the activities inside and allowing the natural terrain to visually flow through the building. The plan is bookended by exterior gathering spaces, with a gymnasium, a catering kitchen, a technology lab, and game, fitness, exercise and multipurpose community rooms in between.

On the east end of the building, a tree-filled plaza forms a public stage for social interaction, as well as a hinge between the rail station and the recreation center. A key design strategy involved burrowing the gymnasium into the hillside to follow the site topography and reduce the perceived volume of the space, thereby maintaining a human scale and providing surprise overlooks into the gym. On the west end, a senior center features a covered outdoor patio overlooking the nearby forest.