Pavilion Connects Two Neighborhoods with Green Space

The new Renzo Pavilion in the Fort Worth Arts District is an outstanding example of architecture and landscape coexisting in an urban setting.


The new Renzo Pavilion in the Fort Worth Arts District is an outstanding example of architecture and landscape coexisting in an urban setting. This development is successful in part, because it solves many issues that plague downtown and urban areas including congestion, limited parking, rapid storm runoff, higher temperatures, and lack of green space.

The Renzo Pavilion, designed by world known architect Renzo Piano, increases the collection space at the Kimbell Art museum by 80,000 square feet. Noted for its brilliant use of glass, concrete and filtered light the museum houses galleries for the Asian, African, and Pre-Columbian collections, and includes temporary exhibit space, an auditorium, education center, staff offices and a grand lobby for receptions. The architect created much of the 4 acre outdoor landscape by placing the parking underground. One rises from the parking structure below and is greeted by a tree-lined lawn area and entrance to the Renzo Pavilion. On the west end of the site is a “turf roof” that ramps up from street level, it can be used for informal gatherings or museum functions.

Improves Connections

This mammoth undertaking has many benefits. It improves the connections between the Dallas Arts District and the Uptown neighborhood and enhances the environment with 5.2 acres of lush turf, gardens, trees and more. Not only will the park help cool this section of downtown but it will systematically filter and reduce all storm water within the property. Over 37 native and adapted Texas plant species can be found on-site with over 300 trees providing needed shade and vertical scale. The trees have outstanding environmental benefits as estimated by the US Forest Service. Over a 50 year period, they will produce $700,000 worth of oxygen, $19,964,000 worth of pollution control, recycle $12,075,000 worth of water and control $10,062,500 dollars in erosion. On the economic level, it is estimated that over 1 billion worth of new development has occurred within a quarter-mile radius since the park construction was announced and best of all, the Klyde Warren Park will be financially self-sufficient while remaining a free amenity for the public’s enjoyment.

Readily Adaptable

Arcosa Lightweight manufactured the expanded shale specified for the lightweight fill and planting soil. Because expanded shale is half the weight of sand or pea gravel, it is readily adapted to projects where weight is an issue- as in deck parks, plazas, over subsurface parking garages, in green roof systems and large container plantings. The material is also porous, inert, durable, resistant to compaction, and able to absorb and release water and nutrients. Over 3’ of lightweight soils help anchor the 47 Chinese Elms in the new landscape and the “turf roof” was installed over 1’ of lightweight soil. In both instances, expanded shale was mixed with compost and sand in percentages specified by the architect.

Developments of this nature are important to urban areas because they help preserve green space. They provide spaces for people to gather, soften lines of architecture, help filter the air, reduce the heat island effect, and foster community identity. Soils blended with lightweight aggregates like expanded shale have proven to reduce urban runoff while filtering harmful contaminants. “Low Impact Development” techniques using lightweight aggregates are becoming more popular with cities for bio-retention, amending heavy clay soils, detention planters, permeable turf parking and green roofs.


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