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Las Colinas

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1972. TX 114 from Loop 12 to TX 161

Las Colinas (the Hills) was developed by cattleman Ben H. Carpenter on 12,000 acres of rolling countryside north of Dallas. Its location adjacent to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport and midway between Dallas and Fort Worth attracted over 2,400 national and international corporate headquarters and offices. The area has grown to 22.5 million square feet of office space (more than downtown Dallas), light industrial space, retail, resorts, golf courses, and an estimated resident population of nearly 100,000, making it one of the first and largest planned communities in the country.

The development’s centerpiece is the 125-acre newly created Lake Carolyn and Mandalay Canal (1981, HKS), with an urbanized shoreline of offices, residences, and quays that recall the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Setting a landmark for Las Colinas are three office buildings, The Towers at Williams Square (1984; 5215 N. O’Connor Boulevard), designed by Charles Bassett of the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, organized around a large plaza. Two mid-height towers bracket a taller central tower that is wide and narrow in proportion, and all have hipped roofs that appear to float above the walls. Red granite cladding is detailed in a small grid with window glazing flush to the face of the stone for a very taught skin. A stream meanders through the paved plaza (SWA Group), with a herd of nine larger-than-life bronze mustangs (Robert Glen, sculptor, of Nairobi, Kenya) splashing through the water. Rows of live oaks in front of the side towers do little to soften the heat and glare of the plaza, perhaps befitting the natural character of the North Texas prairie.

At the southern corner of the development, the Chase Bank Building (1984, Skidmore Owings and Merrill; 545 E. Carpenter Freeway), by Rick Keating of SOM’s Houston office, displays a more complex geometric composition. The square block of the tower has another square imposed in plan, forming triangular bays that project on each facade, and glazing on inner bays is recessed from the face of the building. Both features give more shadow and depth to the facades than the Bassett design.

At 500 W. Las Colinas Boulevard on the northern edge of Las Colinas, the Irving Convention Center (2011, RMJM Hillier) transforms this bland, usually horizontal building type into a vertical, transparent, and hovering object. A spiraling copper-clad podium rises at the corners to form entrances and a ramp leads up to a recessed, glazed upper level that is screened by a vast, rotated copper mesh square.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Las Colinas", [Irving, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 186-186.

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