Downtown Dallas Lights: Distraction or Attraction?

Architects, designers talk about downtown's lights

By Omar Villafranca
|  Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012  |  Updated 1:01 AM CDT
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A group of architects and designers discuss whether the colored lights of the Dallas skyline are too much.

Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News

A group of architects and designers discuss whether the colored lights of the Dallas skyline are too much.

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From the Omni Dallas Hotel to Reunion Tower, Dallas' skyline puts on a lightshow, but not everyone likes the bright lights of Big D.

A group of architects and designers met Tuesday to discuss the lights at the Point/Counterpoint Series at the Dallas Center for Architecture -- which did have colored lights inside.

Patrick Kennedy, a partner at Space Between Design Studio, described the lights as superfluous and superficial. He said he feels like the lights draw attention away from a bigger problem: an unexciting downtown Dallas.

“This is sort of distracting from the larger issue at hand, which is, how do we revitalize the streets of downtown Dallas to compete with truly world-class cities like Paris and Barcelona? We're not trying to compete with Oklahoma City,” he said.

Scott Lowe, of 5G Studio, helped design the Omni Dallas, the convention center hotel. Its more than 1 million LED lights is the building's signature look.

Lowe said lights can serve a purpose, such as marketing at the Omni hotel. The hotel has started flashing company logos, hoping to lure business.

“I do think it adds energy to a city that is sometimes exciting,” he said. “If architecture is about raising a reaction, positive or negative, then that’s a good thing.”

Kennedy said some residents have complained about the lights on the Omni.

Eric Stegemoeller, who lives in downtown Dallas, said he likes the lights but is quick to add that enough is enough.

“The lights really give it a nice, pedestrian feel and kind of [give] it some energy and activity and stuff like that,” Stegemoeller said. “They could do more of the subdued lights. Any more of the Omni-type stuff is going to be too much."

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