News and Features

NY Studio Designs Giant, Reflective Sculpture To Save Nasher

Surya-sunlight-responsive-sculpture-by-REX-and-Front_dezeen_ss_1Visualisation by Luxigon

Dezeen website reports that the New York studio REX (the office of Joshua Prince-Ramus, co-designer of the Wyly Theatre) and architects Front have designed a giant, sunlight-responsive sculpture that would protect the Nasher Sculpture Center from the intense glare caused by Museum Tower. It’s basically a nearly 400-foot-tall, aluminum-cast sunshade with reflective panels that can move, furling and unfurling as the daylight changes. The project’s cost is listed as “confidential” on the REX site, but the sculpture itself is called “Surya” — the Hindu solar deity.

But the real surprise in all this may be who commissioned the inventive project:

REX and Front were commissioned in 2012 by the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund – the developer of the 42-storey Museum Tower – to explore the option of a shade along the road intersecting the two sites, following a widely reported battle with the museum over whether the buildings themselves should be modified.

Seems it’s actually NOT a new idea; the Nasher nixed it a year ago [see update below]. So the likelihood of it happening are none to none, it seems.

But ironically enough ( or perhaps, “Hmmmm, strangely enough”), the idea is reminiscent of a “death ray” proposal local critic/curator Christina Rees offered last year in Glasstire (below). As tongue-in-cheek and vengeful as Rees’ proposal may be, it does raise an interesting question: Where does the REX/Front sculpture reflect all the sunlight to?

Well, according to REX’s website, Surya is pixelized — it’s made of separate “umbrellas” that will deflect the light at different angles at different times of the day. The real reason for Surya not having a solid surface, though, is that such a structure would block views from Museum Tower.

It’s also worth underscoring that the REX/Front proposal has a certain deadpan humor to it — which is a clue it’s not entirely serious. The project description ends: “One doesn’t make modest plans in “Big D.”

UPDATE: And according to the DMN‘s Mark Lamster, the proposal is a non-starter because a) that land isn’t available (it’s going to become housing) and b) again, the Nasher has already rejected it.

Too bad. It’s actually kinda cool.

Anyway. Back to the drawing board.

Or to the lawyers’ offices …


  • Amy Jo Kendrick

    So is this actually going to happen then?

  • JeromeWeeks

    Ummm. No. Doesn’t look like it.

  • Christian Yazdanpanah

    Just to be sure to give credit where credit is due, in that article she mentions that the design was by Erik Schuessler. “So, one of Dallas’s more admirable enfant terribles, Erik Schuessler (yes, he of the brothers Schuesslers, with their annual Disturbathon and excellent tech design firm Brainfood) came up with an early solution, and so far I haven’t seen one to beat it. In fact, it dovetailed in a zeitgeist (forgive the term, but there it is); everyone likes this one. It would take some extra artists, engineers, yes, and some architects.”

  • JeromeWeeks

    Actually, I still prefer Christina’s version. It’s more … dramatic.