Singing Hills Recreation Center

Dallas, Texas
Uplifting an Underserved Community

The Singing Hills Recreation Center is a first of its kind in Dallas—a multi-generational, community-focused facility in a historically underserved neighborhood, connected to a commuter rail station.

The new center serves as a platform for social interaction where human activities—recreation, community, education—intersect.

Our design team sought to enhance the beauty of the area by creating a facility that mimics the natural landscape in an abstracted way. By trimming the underbrush and lower limbs of the densely treed area, a space for human activity to take place among nature was revealed.

What Makes It Cool
The first of its kind.

Whether 16 or 65, the center has something for everyone—a basketball court, community facilities, and a senior center, all under a single roof.

On the east end, a tree-filled plaza forms a public stage for social interaction and hinges between the rail station and recreation center.

A key design strategy involved burrowing the gymnasium into the hillside to follow the site topography and reduce the volumetric bulk of the space, thereby maintaining a human scale and surprise overlooks into the gym activities.

Translating nature, the tree canopy is abstracted to an undulating overhead plane, framing views, revealing the activities inside, and allowing the natural terrain to visually flow through the building.

Double-height spaces create a series of dynamic visual connections as large, active spaces transition to quieter community meeting and education rooms toward the west.
Allowing the natural ambient daylight to filter into the space, just as it would filter through the tree canopy, creates a well-lit building that delights the senses.
Something for everyone.

The Center’s program includes many opportunities for physical fitness, from the NCAA-sized gymnasium to a well-outfitted fitness room, to a multifunction studio that can be used for dance, yoga, etc. Through their many programs for all generations, the City helps grow healthy behaviors which benefit the community at large.

A senior center with a covered outdoor patio overlooking the nearby forest forms the west end of the building.
Expanding opportunities.

Built as an integral part of the station on a newly extended rail line, the Center is linked to Downtown Dallas, offering expanded economic opportunities and social connectedness. One stop to the south, the line connects to a satellite campus of the University of North Texas. For those traveling to Singing Hills and the University the building serves an arrival gateway and a symbol of a more equitable future for the area.

Project Team

Ron Stelmarski