Author: Lara Moffat

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Surrounding a Day of Commemoration, Memorial Criticism Takes Center Stage

David Woo/Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer

Tomorrow, November 22, a celebration of epic proportions will take place in Dallas. Oddly, the city is celebrating the life, legacy, and leadership of John F. Kennedy on the 50th Anniversary of his assassination. A date some wish would be forgotten; but many visitors, including 100s of press, from around the globe will be here to mark the occasion.

As a Dallasite, I grew up hearing of the burden and shame the citizens carried because JFK was killed in our blossoming city. And from a young age I visited all the sites near Dealey Plaza, the site of the assassination: the ‘Grassy Knoll’, the Sixth Floor Museum at the Texas School Book Depository, and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. Most conversations in these spaces revolved around conspiracy theories hoping to salvage Dallas’ reputation, certainly not about the meaning behind the design of a memorial which I later learnt was controversial from the get go (and, apparently, still is today).

David Woo/Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer

During an Environmental Art class while working on my MLA at the University of Texas in Arlington, I first was made aware of the controversy of the Philip Johnson designed JFK Memorial. 

Conceived as a cenotaph, or open tomb, the roofless room was designed to symbolize the freedom of John F. Kennedy’s spirit and act as a place of refuge for those who visited the plaza. Seen as too modern and too abstract by many, Johnson’s modernist memorial did not memorialize Kennedy in the manner most individuals felt the 35th president should be remembered.  In addition, the consensus was that the memorial should be in Washington, D.C. and not here in Dallas. 

File 1970/The Associated Press

Leading up to the commemorative day known as “The 50th”, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza has again received renewed interest and criticism. In the last week, two opposing articles in the Dallas Morning News have been written about the memorial. The first one by new to town Dallas Morning News Architecture Critic, Mark Lamster, entitled Architecture commentary: Markers of JFK tragedy fail to impress. The second one penned by Rick Brettell, a 25 year transplant and Dallas Morning Art Critic, is a rebuttal titled Another take on the Kennedy Memorial, Dallas’ masterful roofless room

Lively Facebook, and offline, discussions by designers and architectural enthusiasts alike have focused around whether the memorial memorializes Kennedy or Johnson, was true to the time, and what might have been more appropriate. Remembering that memorial design is tied to time and place, I am a fan and personally side with Rick Brettell’s take!

Lara Moffat, ASLA 


The Results are In for the CitiesAlive Student Design Challenge!

A HUGE thank you to all of the teams that submitted a design for the CitiesAlive Student Design Challenge for a new Tenderloin Community Center! The design submissions were viewed over 13,000 times with 2,361 votes cast and the winning entry with 1,043 votes goes to Ellis’ Grove, submitted by the team from Universidad Francisco Marroquin.


By the quality of designs, it is clear that the student teams spent the time to thoroughly examine and develop innovative design solutions which blend operational functionality with optimized ecological and community impact on their concepts. The thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and understanding of the challenge is evident in each submission!  


All teams will receive complimentary exhibition passes to CitiesAlive and will have their designs on display in the expo hall during the CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall conference in San Francisco on October 23 and 24.  Team Universidad Francisco Marroquin, the winning team, will receive $2000 cash. Teams using Vectorworks as part of their submission will receive a free download of Vectorworks Software.


Thanks again to all participated!

Land8, Vectorworks, greenscreen, Permaloc Edging, LiveWall, and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities


Ellis’ Grove | Universidad Francisco Marroquin

Students: Pedro Javier Escobar Fuentes, Luis Andres Gordillo Velasquez, Jogli Edbin Pedro Juracan Rosaales, & Hugo Roberto Sandoval Ruballos

1,043 votes…3,432 views


Life at the T.L.C. | Santa Barbara City College

Students: Trevor Zarker and Niles Brinton People

917 votes…2,282 views


A Green Canvas | University of Georgia

Students: Hiu Ting Li & Xiaoje He

128…votes 879 views


Farm Box | The University of Edinburgh

Thomas Chapman & Harriet Follett

119 votes…1,238 views


Urban Oasis | University of Colorado Boulder

Students: Anna Reynoso, Jack Alderman, & Brendan Hurley,

61 votes…808 views


GRIDLINES|STORM WATER | University of Colorado Boulder

Student: Cora C. Castagneri

30 votes… 611 views


COMMUNITY FAB.REC | Yale University

Students: Sheena Zhang, James Santana, Starling Childs, & Kendra FintzRandolph

27 votes… 688 views


Re_Create | University of Colorado at Boulder

Student: Hayden Schmucker, Marissa Finney, & Jason Fuhs

12 votes…591 views


Break Through | University of San Francisco

Students: Christine Haas & Rosanne Pitarresi

11 votes…567 views


Permeable and Productive | University of Colorado at Boulder

Student: Anthony Johnson 

9 votes…546 views

UK’s Street Art Boom and Walking Tours

Street Art Tours seem to be all the rage right now!  ‘Street Art’ is loosely definable, but in most cases refers to unsanctioned art in the streets. Made famous, or infamous, by artists such as Banksy, Space Invader, and Morley. The Telegraph Travel section recently had this to say about the prominence of tours: 

“Street art is now a global tourism force. There are specialist tours in Berlin, Paris, New York and Melbourne, in several British cities – and astonishingly, about ten different graffiti tours in London alone.”

Have you been on one of these they mention? Do you know of others around the world? Perhaps some of these examples will inspire to join in the fun…

David Walker

30-foot bird by Belgian artist ROA

Banksy’s hometown of Bristol has a great street-art tradition. Check out the Banksy walking tour, here.

Phlegm is known for his black and white style and other-worldly creatures. The above was inspired by a scene from Where the Wild Things Are.

Incredible street art tours

Miniature Street Art by Pablo Delgado

Via Telegraph

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