Here's Why No One Can Agree on a Desperately Needed Face-lift for Frank Lloyd Wright's Landmark Dallas Theater

This is an update, of sorts, about plans to restore architect Frank Lloyd Wright's 60-year-old theater nestled in Oak Lawn to its former glory. Of sorts, because at this moment I can't tell you what those plans are. Or who will oversee their execution. Or pay for them. Or how.This shouldn't be this hard, a revamp of a decaying Official City Landmark designed by a national treasure. This city has neglected the venue for decades: The structure hasn't had a major capital investment since 1989, which is as unfathomable as it is inexcusable. In a missive sent to the city's cultural arts office, architect William Kelly Oliver, the Wright apprentice who supervised the theater's construction, writes, "I am beginning to wonder if Dallas is aware of the rare thing they have in the Kalita Humphreys Theater."Everyone wanting to be involved in efforts to make over the Kalita — "a masterpiece of structural daring wedged with care into a verdant landscape" writes my colleague Mark Lamster — agrees it must rescued from its slow decay. All concur the restoration must also take into account the 9.9-acre city park that surrounds it and the Katy Trail that jogs behind it. And, they recognize its rehab should take into account both the entity for which the Kalita was built, the Dallas Theater Center, and other arts groups wishing to use its space.Yet here we are, almost a decade after completion of a master plan never adopted or executed, and we still see no resolution nor restoration. Instead the theater's defenders and the city are mired in disagreements over what the redo should look like, who should oversee it, who will fund it. For years I've heard of progress, of disagreements dashed. Instead, I see only more wrestling and fretting while the Kalita crumbles.  Continue reading...

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