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Does a Bunch of Awards Make Dallas a Design Capital?

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Chicago invented the skyscraper and New York City mastered the skyline, but as Kriston Capps argues over on CityLab, it's Dallas, Texas that wins the "best U.S. architecture by density" contest. As proof of Dallas's architectural significance, Capps points to the city's booming Arts District, which boasts buildings by six different winners of the Pritzker Prize (often called "the Nobel Prize of architecture") in less than one square mile. These works include the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (↑) by Thom Mayne, the Winspear Opera House by Norman Foster, and the Nasher Sculpture Center by Renzo Piano.

Capps, who then notes that these Pritzker Prize winners have also garnered a slew of other big awards like the Japan's Praemium Imperiale, the American Institute of Architects' Gold Medal, and the Royal Institute of British Architects' Gold Medal, concludes, "No other geographic area in the nation this small can brag on as much architecture by architects who have received the top honors in their fields."

Which sounds about right, though Capps freely admits that the criteria used in this argument is an "arbitrary standard," akin to "looking at the buildings' resumes rather than the buildings themselves," and in the end, "hardly an objective measure when the prizes themselves are so subjective." Does a cluster of half a dozen buildings by heavily awarded starchitects really mean a "density of great design"? Could Dallas really contend with a city like, say, Chicago? In any case, it's clear that there's something exciting going on in the Dallas Arts District.

· For the Best U.S. Architecture Per Square Mile, Head to Dallas [CityLab]
· Is Chicago a Second City of Architecture... Behind Dallas? [Curbed Chicago]