The Newly Renovated Pump House Party

Newly renovated Pump House hosts one of Dallas’ chicest parties.

BLUE HUE: Dramatically lit back exterior view of Pump House


Industrial Chic

An old water pump station in Highland Park goes from grungy to glamorous when some of Dallas’ top designers and architects get involved.

Stan Cowan; Deedie Rose, honorary co-chairman; Mary Ellen Cowan

A 1920s-era water pump station, which supplied the drinking water for Highland Park until 1950, was the site of one of Dallas’ chicest parties of late. Beautifully dressed women exiting the valet at Lakeside Drive gamely traversed the old slatted wood bridge suspended over the lake to the Pump House. Some walked sideways, clutching the handrails and their escorts to avoid catching high heels between the boards; others took their shoes off and walked barefoot, stepping around the water insects that were drawn by the lamplights. It was an adventure getting there and a revolution of design once you arrived.

The Pump House itself is located on philanthropists Deedie and Rusty Rose’s property and was recently renovated by a team of preservation specialists, including interior designer Emily Summers and architect Gary Cunningham. The Pump House was returned to a state as close to original as possible, says Summers.

One of Cunningham’s achievements with the project was preserving a gigantic water pump in the main room, which is now surrounded by glass and lit from underneath like a work of art.  A smaller gallery, used to display photography and architectural sketches, has a floor made entirely of industrial glass, allowing the graphically beautiful pipes and wires underneath to remain visible.

Landscape architects Stan and Mary Ellen Cowan with Mesa Design Group planted new trees outside and worked with Cunningham and Summers to install sculpture on the grounds. “The job at our office was to come up with wonderful industrial things,” says Summers, who designed an upstairs apartment for the Pump House that included a curved table by Frank Gehry. “We tried to find furniture and window treatments meant to resemble old packing crates,” she says.

The benefit, which raised $180,000 for the Dallas Architectural Foundation and Dallas Architecture Forum, drew more than 400 architects, designers, artists, and arts patrons. Some of the art, photography, furniture, and jewelry for auction included pieces by Louis Kahn, Tadao Ando, and Renzo Piano.

Ellen McStay; Jeffrey Marcus; Emily Summers, executive co-chairman; John McStay


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