In the 1920’s and 30’s a majority of Fort Worth’s notable buildings were designed by either Sanguinett and Staats or Wyatt Hedrick. Since the 1990's, several of downtown's newest buildings have been designed by David M. Schwarz, including most of Sundance Square.
Here's a look at some of Fort Worth's most notable architectural marvels.
1. Tarrant County Courthouse - 1895 - National Register
Situated at the site of the original Fort Worth atop the bluff and at the terminus of Main Street, the courthouse has been a landmark of the city since it was completed in 1895. The architecture and granite used for the facade bears similarities to the Texas Capitol Building in Austin. Many people will recognize the building from its appearances in “Walker, Texas Ranger." The building is still an active courthouse, but guests are welcome to step in during operating hours and see the interior.
2. Bass Performance Hall - 1998 - David M. Schwarz
Immediately recognized for it’s two, 48-foot trumpeting angels carved from Texas limestone, Bass Hall has been a defining part of Sundance Square since 1998. The hall is the home of the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition as well as Broadway, symphony, ballet, opera and orchestra presentations. Seating 2,000, it is the premiere entertainment venue in Fort Worth. Tours are available most Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. schedule depending.
3. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth - 2002 - Tadao Ando
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is itself, a piece of modern art perfectly reflecting the works contained within. Designed by Pritzker Prize winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the museum features five linear galleries, each 40 feet in height. Three of these galleries terminate into a reflecting pool, with cantilevered roofs held up by the building’s signature Y shaped columns. The building is home to nearly 3,000 works of postwar art.
4. Kimbell Art Museum - 1972, 2013 - Kahn and Piano
The Kimbell’s original building, designed by Louis Kahn, is considered among the most notable museums in the world. Opened in 1972, the building's most striking features are the barreled roofs which diffuse sunlight softly through the building and onto the artwork inside. The same shapes are found in the outside portico areas and three patio spaces found within the building. In need of more exhibit space, the museum turned to Renzo Piano to design a new pavilion which opened in 2013. Separated from the Kahn building by an open lawn, both buildings have a heavy focus on concrete, natural light and a minimal subtle style.
5. Amon Carter Museum of American Art - 1961 - Philip Johnson
Situated at the highest point of the Cultural District, the Amon Carter Museum's front porch is a popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy views of the Fort Worth skyline and surroundings. The building's main gallery faces the porch, supported by five tapered columns. The building underwent a large addition in 2001, adding several exhibit spaces behind the main gallery in addition to a two-level, square, domed lobby. The building is one of several works in the region from Philip Johnson.
6. Texas and Pacific Complex - Early 1930s - National Register - Wyatt C. Hedrick
The T&P complex consists of three grand buildings built at the south edge of downtown along the railway. The tallest building, the Art Deco terminal, served as a train station for the railway and now is a stop on the TEXRail and TRE commuter rail lines with residences above. The Post Office next door is a Beaux-Arts style and continues to serve as a post office today. Both the terminal and Post Office have public lobbies. The third building is currently a vacant warehouse.
7. Water Gardens - 1974 - Philip Johnson and John Burgee
This unique example of landscape architecture features three main pools surrounded by terraced concrete steps of varying heights providing an escape to nature from the hustle of downtown. The active pool is the most well known. Its steps lead down to a lowered pool with water rushing down the sloped edges on all sides. This location is well known for its appearance in the 1976 film “Logan’s Run” and in Solange’s 2019 music video for “Almeda."
8. Stockyards National Historic District - Early 1900s - National Register
The Stockyards Historic District consists of several notable structures. The 1908 Cowtown Coliseum was the site of the first indoor rodeo and continues to host rodeos every weekend. The Livestock Exchange Building next door, built in 1903, housed offices for the Stock Yards Company. Stockyards Station, now retail and restaurants, were once hog and sheep pens. Also, in this area are several historic commercial buildings lining Exchange Avenue such as The Stockyards Hotel and White Elephant Saloon.
9. Thistle Hill - 1904 - National Register - Sanguinet & Staats
Thistle Hill is one of the last remaining cattle baron mansions in Fort Worth. The home was originally built for Electra Waggoner, part-owner of the Waggoner Ranch. Today, the home is owned by Historic Fort Worth, who use the home for exhibits, events and tours.
10. Will Rogers Memorial Center - 1936 - National Register - Wyatt. C Hedrick
Built for the Texas Centennial Celebration, the Art Deco Will Rogers Complex consists of three main historic structures. A 208-foot tower flanked on both sides by a coliseum to the east and an auditorium to the east, each with tile mosaics highlighting the history of Texas. The Coliseum was the first stadium to use arched trusses, creating a column free interior. The complex formerly hosted the annual Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and continues to host various equestrian events throughout the year.
11. 714 Main - 1921 - National Register - Sanguinet & Staats
This 300-foot tall Chicago-style skyscraper was believed to be the tallest in Texas when it was completed. It stood as the tallest building in Fort Worth for 36 years. Originally, offices for the Farmers and Mechanics National Bank, the building has also been the home of the Fort Worth National Bank, Contintal Life Insurance, and most recently, XTO Energy. In the 1960's, the lower floors of the building were renovated to match the architectural styling of the times, but the base was restored to its 1920's appearance in 2010. In 2019, work began to convert the building into the Kimpton Fort Worth Hotel.
12. Flatiron Building - 1907 - National Register - Sanguinet & Staats
The Flatiron was one of the first high-rise structures built in Fort Worth. Its design is inspired by the Flatiron Building in Manhattan, which is the burial site of Fort Worth’s namesake, Williams Jenkins Worth. The second floor of the Fort Worth building is lined with panther head gargoyles, a nod to Fort Worth’s nickname “Panther City." In the park adjacent to the building is a sculpture of a sleeping panther. On the Houston Street side there is a bust of the Wild Bunch Gang who spent time in Fort Worth.
13. Burk Burnett Building - 1914 - National Register - Sanguinet & Staats
The Burk Burnett Building is an excellent example of neoclassical hi-rise architecture in Fort Worth. Prominently standing 12 stories over Sundance Square Plaza, the building’s lower floors are clad in white terra cotta while the Main Street side has large granite columns. The red brick midsection is topped by two floors of more white terra cotta with an ornate roofline.
14. Knights of Pythias Building - 1901 - National Register - Sanguinet & Staats
The first hall was built at this site in 1881 for the Knights of Pythias, a D.C. based fraternal order. When the original building burned in 1901, it was rebuilt with a few additions. These included the turreted corner and gabled rooftops. A replica of the original knight was cast 100 years after the original and put in place near the top of the building. The clock outside, made in 1918, was originally at Main and 6th, but moved to the current location when Haltom’s Jewelers relocated to the building.
15. TCC Trinity Campus - 2011 - Bing Thom Associates
The campus is carved into the bluff which leads to the Trinity River forming a canyon of buildings. A man-made stream, which flows through the central walkway of campus and under Belknap Street, ends in a waterfall with views of the Trinity River and the Main Street bridge. The modern materials of glass, sloping concrete and metal are a stark contrast to the 1895 Courthouse one block away.
16. Wells Fargo and Bank of America Towers - 1984 - Paul Rudolph
This pair of fraternal twin towers are among the tallest in the Fort Worth skyline. Designed by renowned modernist architect Paul Rudolph, they bear a resemblance to other works by Rudolph in Hong Kong and Singapore. The lower floors of each tower shrink away, creating unique covered spaces supported by columns which rise above the sidewalk.
17. Marty Leonard Chapel - 1990 - E. Fay Jones
E. Faye Jones was a student and apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose influence can be seen in the Chapel. The unique structure is highlighted by a massive, vaulted wood ceiling with glass panels throughout that cause the interior's natural light to constantly change throughout the day. The setting in the surrounding trees creates the appearance that the building is a part of nature.
18. Texas Christian University Campus
The campus is well regarded as one of the most beautiful universities in the nation. The unifying style of the campus are the yellow brick buildings topped with red tile roofs. Dozens of treed courtyards and landscaped commons are scattered throughout. Among the notable architects that have worked on the campus are Paul Rudolph (Sid Richardson Physical Sciences Building) Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo (J.M. Moudy Visual Arts Building) and Robert A.M. Stern (Grandmarc at Westberry Place).
This blog was largely informed due to the assistance of Fort Worth Architecture.