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Restoring the Past to Ensure the Future at Fair Park - Architects preserve nation’s largest collection of Art Deco exposition architecture - /
Restoring the Past to Ensure the Future at Fair Park


NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Dallas, TX, United States, 2006/04/18 - Architects preserve nation’s largest collection of Art Deco exposition architecture - /

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Preservation Dallas honored Good Fulton & Farrell for the renovation of the Embarcadero Building at Fair Park with a Preservation Achievement Award in non-residential restoration/rehabilitation at the Seventh Annual Preservation Achievement Awards held on Friday, February 24, 2006 at the Dallas Arboretum.

Preservation Dallas is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of Dallas’ buildings, neighborhoods and other historical, architectural, and cultural resources. The Preservation Achievement awards celebrate recent achievements in historic preservation by nominating places exemplifying the best in preservation and revitalization in Dallas. Nominations range from a Prairie-style cottage improved by its owners to rehabilitated commercial buildings using professional architects.

The Embarcadero Building houses two of the most unique spaces in Fair Park:
a lobby with some of the most elaborate decorative painting from the 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition, and the one remaining original exhibit from the Centennial.

As the only remaining Texas Centennial exhibit space, the Gebhardt Chili Company space retains the built-in pecan armoire and paneled front counter, the Mexican tile back counter with its built-in gas heating elements, lime plaster walls and a rustic wood beamed ceiling from its original construction.

One of the most challenging aspect of this endeavor was the “lack of photographs or written descriptions for the Embarcadero’s interior,” said Jon Rollins, Project Architect, “Some of the interior construction was clearly not original, but in other areas it was not clear whether the existing finishes were original or not.”

Good Fulton & Farrell was engaged by the State Fair of Texas in 2000 to investigate existing conditions and develop a scope of work for the upcoming rehabilitation of the Embarcadero. Originally, construction was planned to immediately follow the 2002 State Fair, but the Owner elected to defer the start of construction by one year because of insufficient funds. The first phase of construction began in Fall 2003 and concluded before the start of the 2004 State Fair. Phase Two work began in Fall 2004 and was completed September 2005.

This is the third Preservation Achievement Award Good Fulton & Farrell has received. Past winners include: the Food & Fiber Building at Fair Park and the Perkins Chapel renovation at Southern Methodist University.

Good Fulton & Farrell has also received a National Preservation Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2003 for its restoration work at Fair Park.

Background on Embarcadero

Designed by George Dahl, the Embarcadero Building was constructed in 1936 for the Texas Centennial Exhibition. The building bears the hallmarks of the Texanic Art Deco style used throughout the Exhibition; compound rectilinear massing, long horizontal proportions punctuated by vertical elements, and [originally] a polychrome color scheme inside and out, ranging from warm buff to deep red-brown, with highlights in sky blue. Like many of the Exhibition buildings, large murals were painted at building entrances. Historical photographs indicate that murals on the Embarcadero match those directly opposite on the Food & Fiber building, which were painted by artist Carlo Ciampaglia. The opposing mirror image porticos of Food & Fiber and the Embarcadero form a gateway to the agrarian district of Fair Park.

The Embarcadero, originally designated as “Food Building” and identified in centennial construction documents as Buildings 4 and 5, consists of two rectangular plan masses linked by a common lobby. The two masses are rotated approximately thirty degrees to one another. The western section [Building 4] is now called the Embarcadero; Building 5, to the east, is now called Creative Arts. The Embarcadero contains a single large exhibit hall two hundred fifty feet long by fifty feet wide by twenty one feet high, flanked by thirty foot wide lower-ceilinged side aisles running the length of the main space. The west end of the building is terminated by a block containing a tall raised portico, and by a lower irregular block now containing a concessionaire called the Dock restaurant. At the east end of the exhibit hall, a tall lobby space with entrances to the north and south serves both Embarcadero and Creative Arts.

Good Fulton & Farrell ( is an award-winning Dallas-based design firm whose record of success began with our founding in 1982. Today we employ more than eighty capable people who are motivated to deliver distinguished services in architecture, interior architecture and planning. The firm has received AIA Dallas’ prestigious “Firm of the Year” award three times, most recently in 2005.

Good Fulton & Farrell serves as the overall corporate umbrella for three divisions: Good Fulton & Farrell Architects, comprising five distinct studios specializing in different practice areas; GFF Interiors, offering full-service interior design capabilities across a full spectrum of building types; GFF Planning, providing land use planning, campus master planning, urban design and zoning processing assistance.

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Restoring the Past to Ensure the Future at Fair Park

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