Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Native Plant Roof Garden 


LocationDallas, Texas, United States
ClientFederal Reserve Bank
SizeTwo-acre roof gardens

This office building’s roof garden celebrates a potent image of the native Texas landscape: the level, grass-covered plains emerging from a wooded riparian area. A design vocabulary of native, drought-tolerant plant materials, especially selected to react to light and air movement, reinforces this design approach. The project serves as a two-acre rooftop garden for employees of this regional headquarters at the edge of Dallas’ downtown core. From the high-rise building, the garden enriches a foreground view against the dramatic Texas skies beyond. The design interprets the regional landscape in several ways. The curvilinear walk is a metaphor for the “stream,” bordered by a display garden of native annuals and perennials and backed by a thicket of native birch. This “woods,” underlain by Texas riparian groundcovers and perennials, is placed at the base of the building to separate the garden, provide privacy to the workers at this level and mitigate the scale of the building. The “plains” are a combination of native grasses organized in long wedges of perfectly horizontal green and abstractly eroded by a geometry of sloping pathways. The project uses native drought-tolerant plantings, such as Buffalo Grass, Red Yucca and perennials, wherever possible to educate and expose visitors and employees to the aesthetic strengths of regional materials, and to reduce long-term water needs and other horticultural costs.

All of the plant material is dynamic through the seasons: the birch has fall color and is leafless in the winter; the flowering natives bloom alternately year-round; and the buffalo grass changes its texture and shade of green during the year. Street level planting, including native Texas Red Yucca and Southern Red Oaks, marries the project to its urban surroundings. The project’s constraints of severe loading restrictions, waterproofing concerns and low budget led to a simple design that is a study in contrasting planes. The absolute prohibition on slab penetrations resulted in a structural slab that slopes away from the towers for the full width of the garden. On this sloping surface, the landscape architects gradually increased soil depths from 12 to 30 inches in order to maintain the level quality of the Texas plains. As a result, the gravel paths emerge as arroyos, seemingly eroded in these thin panels of native grasses.

Related Projects

ARTIC – Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center

ARTIC, the new 16-acre Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center in Southern California, forms a seamless gateway from Anaheim to all of Orange County, spurring economic growth and community redevelopment throughout the region. The landscape design establishes a unique and identifiable image for the ARTIC Mixed-Use District by complementing the site’s ...

Shanghai International Dance Center

Inspired by the idea of movement, this collaboration with Studios Architecture achieves an artful harmony of building with landscape, program with site. The image of a dancer in grand jete kindled the designers’ imaginations and served as the project’s organizing idea. Asia’s first professional dance complex is tucked between a freeway, a subway station...

Poly Future City

As the first phase of a large development along a new subway line in Beijing, Poly Future City suggests what’s to come. A sleek sales center features an interactive landscape with water features punctuating its pavilions, which boast WiFi, heated seating, and power outlets, all solar-powered. For this temporary building and landscape, SWA took care to invest i...

La Via

Embracing the legacy of Scottsdale and re-imagining its development possibilities, La Via is positioned as a village of the future that looks beyond simple mixed-use functionality. By aggregating innovation-centric businesses, artists-in-residence, and a rich network of open spaces, La Via will engender unique associations and collaborations that will propel N...

RIT Global Village and Global Plaza

Global Village, a pedestrian-only infill neighborhood adjacent to Rochester Institute of Technology’s academic core, and its mixed-use centerpiece, Global Plaza, create a social heart for 17,200 students and 3,600 faculty and staff. The landscape architects and architects collaborated on an urban design that establishes multiple “crossroads” ...

California Academy of Sciences

One of San Francisco’s first sustainable building projects, the California Academy of Sciences supports a stunning 2.5-acre green roof. Emphasizing habitat quality and connectivity, the project has received two LEED Platinum certifications.

The building’s architectural team, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), invited SWA Group and horticultural c...

La Plaza Cultura Village

Located within El Pueblo, the birthplace of Los Angeles, La Plaza Cultura Village is a mixed-use, transit-oriented development totaling 425,000 square feet of retail, apartments (20 percent of which are low income units), cultural facilities, and public open space. Two large, surface parking lots have been transformed into a vibrant community that builds upon ...

Dubai Opera District

The elegant and the everyday coexist harmoniously in Dubai’s new Opera District, is a stylish cultural destination set to promote culture and the arts, stimulate global exchange, encourage local talent, and serve as a vibrant events venue. Dramatic view corridors lead to both to the opera house and to the adjacent spectacle of the world’s tallest building—the ...