Perkins&Will completes Singing Hills recreation facility in Dallas

Large expanses of glass feature in a multi-generational community centre designed by architecture firm Perkins&Will for a neglected neighbourhood in Dallas, Texas.

The Singing Hills Recreation and Senior Center is located in a historically underserved neighbourhood in southern Dallas, next to a rail station. Perkins&Will completed the facility for a newly expanded commuter line.

Recreation facility
Large expanses of glass make up the facade of the recreation centre

The multi-generational centre is described as the first of its kind in the city and "a symbol of a more equitable future for the area" by the Dallas studio of Perkins&Will.

"The centre was developed as a much-needed response to efforts in oft-neglected South Dallas for a recreation centre for their minority community," the team said.

Centre by Perkins&Will
Perkins&Will designed the project in southern Dallas

"The facility's design is a true reflection of the needs and desires of those using it on a day-to-day basis," they added.

Encompassing 23,000 square feet (2,137 square metres), the building is long and rectangular in plan and stretches along an east-west axis. It sits on a natural limestone outcropping – a perch that offers views of downtown Dallas.

Singing Hills facility
Different shades of glazing are featured at Singing Hills' recreation facilities

Its design was influenced by the geological evolution of the site over time.

"By abstracting the natural characteristics of the site, the building integrates itself as part of the landscape and enhances the human connection to nature," the architects said.

Flat roof with overhangs by Perkins&Will
A flat roof with deep overhangs helps shade the building

Facades consist of charcoal-grey metal panels, limestone and large stretches of glass. Extensive glazing on the north ushers in ample in daylight and allows the natural terrain "to visually flow through the building".

A flat roof with deep overhangs helps shade the facility. Soffits are sheathed in honey-toned pine that was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The entrance is marked by a double-height, glazed volume, and the building has a simple, fluid layout.

The west end encompasses the senior centre, while the east side holds a large gymnasium that is partly sunken into the ground.

Sunken gymnasium
The building's gymnasium is partly sunken into the ground

The central portion holds a range of spaces – a fitness room, a dance/yoga studio, a game room, two multipurpose rooms and a tech lab.

Rooms are fitted with durable finishes and decor. Flooring ranges from terrazzo in corridors to rubber and maple in exercise areas. Splashes of colour were informed by the native wildflowers that dot the surrounding landscape.

Perkins&Will terrazzo flooring
Terrazzo covers some of the centre's floors

A variety of activities are hosted at the centre, from sporting games to coronavirus vaccinations.

"The centre is a place the community can go for support of all kinds," the team said. "When Covid-19 vaccinations first became available, the centre quickly set up a vaccination site and served those in need."

Recreational facility
A variety of activities are hosted at the facility

Perkins&Will has more than two dozen studios around the world. Other Texas projects by the firm include an office interior for a healthcare provider that is organised around a large steel staircase and a tiered wooden platform for meetings.

The photography is by James Steinkamp.

More images and plans

Site plan
Singing Hills by Perkins&Will
Singing Hills by Perkins&Will
Singing Hills by Perkins&Will
Singing Hills by Perkins&Will
Singing Hills by Perkins&Will
Singing Hills by Perkins&Will
Singing Hills by Perkins&Will