Christine Allison on A City of Outlaws


Dear Reader

A City of Outlaws


The other day at lunch, the man sitting next to me said (loudly, disdainfully) that Dallas was “a city of outlaws” and “always will be.” The tables are shoulder to shoulder at Parigi, and were it not for my companion giving me a don’t-you-dare look, I would have argued the point. Mr. Loudmouth, it seemed to me, was wrong on all counts, foremost among them the idea that one should regard outlaws with disdain. Outlaws are a good thing. They buck convention. They color outside the lines. Artists, poets, and reformers are outlaws. In this sense, the number of outlaws in Dallas is meager.

Given my views, you can imagine how happy I was with the editorial lineup for this issue of D Home. Behold! Outlaws on every page! We have a fascinating report by Loyd Zisk on SMU’s new school of engineering building. Dallas is in many ways the king of environmental sloth; we barely recycle newspapers. But the Embrey building, shown on page 68, is a real life laboratory of ground-breaking design that could put the university—and our city—at the grown-up’s table of environmental innovation. On page 126, Christine Rogers shares her discovery of two architectural outlaws, Lyle Rowley and Jack Wilson, who created affordable, modernist homes in Dallas during the 1950s. Back then, no bank in town would fund their work. (Surprise, surprise, a Ju-Nel house is often worth more per square foot now than a comparable traditional house of its period.) Roosters? Texas Tuscan? Not for two modern-day upstarts, Jesse Neargarder and Shazia Kirmani. In the designers-as-outlaws category, you’ll meet these fresh-faced graduates of The Art Institute of Dallas in a story by Paige Phelps, beginning on page 136. When someone decorates with henna-inspired patterns and creates sculpture from tree branches jutting from the wall, it is not business as usual. Keep your eye on these two unconventional characters; they are certainly ones to watch.

Finally, have a look at our feature “Conversations on Dallas Style,” which begins on page 101. Here, 26 local designers and showroom owners and even national figures give their unbridled opinions on where we are as an aesthetic force in an industry that has moved in and out of outlaw status. Most agreed that we have entered a new phase in local design and architecture: assured, confident, bold. Sounds like a formula for unconventional work to me. Maybe Mr. Loudmouth was right, after all?

Enjoy this issue, and let me hear from you.

Christine Allison
Editor and Publisher
[email protected]


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