May 30, 2013
by Mark Pataky

My involvement in the projects is growing every week and I really like how the education group works, using Sketchup and AutoCad back and forth to fine tune the designs in 2D and 3D. When potential problem areas or conflicts arise requiring more attention, we jump right in and sketch sections and details to resolve issues. Everyone works well this way and work gets done very fast. They have school design down to a science. When I arrived in Dallas the education group was starting three high schools, so it was perfect timing for me to be part of these projects from day one. I have been involved with the first presentation to the client and three weeks later we are working on sections and elevations. This fast and furious approach then allows time for detailing. It is the same process I used in school and it feels very natural.

Monday afternoon I helped Bob, Carl, and Ryan move the retrospect installation into storage. While we were at this top secret storage location I got to see something few HKS employees ever get to see. The HKS vault. Thousands upon thousands of roles of HKS archived drawings and collections of HKS’s 74 year history. I’ve heard the numbers before, projects totaling more than $75 billion in more than 1,263 cities located throughout 80 foreign countries. But, seeing the record and history of this company through the sheer number of drawings really opened my eyes into what I’m lucky to be a part of.

This week I setup a tour of Dallas City Hall by I.M. Pie for myself and some coworkers. What a great first architecture tour in Dallas. Our tour guide explained to us the plaza, impressive 100 ft tall lobby, Council Chamber, Flag Room and Great Court. The north facade has a 34 degree angle and surprisingly the three stair masses visible on the facade do not structurally support the leaning facade. The then mayor of Dallas had them addend to aesthetically hold up the building. He felt the building looked too precarious as if it would tip. After completion in 1978, Dallas trucked in sand to the plaza to create a beach around the fountain and a 180-foot diameter reflecting pool. Unfortunately, the sand ended up damaging the fountain and they stopped this summer tradition.

The tour of city hall was very impressive and concluded with a trip to the archives with the history of Dallas architecture dating back to 1800‘s, including the original Dallas City Hall blue prints from the 1880‘s, the Renaissance Revival City Hall building that occupied the site of the present Adolphus Hotel. We then looked at the original hand drawings from the The Beaux-Arts Style City Hall building, called the Municipal Building of 1914. In the basement of this structure on Nov. 24, 1963, Jack Ruby fatally shot Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy. I live across the street from this building.

The NBA playoffs started this week and being a Heat fan from Miami living in Dallas has been fun. With all the Dallas Mavricks and San Antonio Spurs fans in the office it’s been fun routing for our teams and building up a rivalry. I’ve even scouted out the office and sports group for some undercover Miami Heat fans that join me for the games after work.

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