The Rolex Building
Best Project

Owner Harwood International
Design Firm Kengo Kuma and Associates
Contractor Sphinx Construction Group
Architect of Record HDF
Civil Engineer Halff Associates
Structural Engineer LA Fuess
MEP Engineer Blum Engineering
Construction Management Services HCMS

Tokyo-based architect Kengo Kuma and Associates and Dallas-based HDF incorporated organic-inspired shapes for the Rolex Building, a seven-story office building in the Harwood District of Dallas that was completed in August 2018.

“Environment is an essential concept for the modern experience, incorporating both natural and urban surroundings,” says Kengo Kuma. “I wanted to design a building that fuses nature and architecture. This landscape-building idea … has resulted in a beautiful urban-organic icon that has fundamentally changed the Dallas cityscape.”

Living plants occupy terraces on every floor of the building, including the ground floor and in rooftop gardens, and every terrace includes custom waterproofing details.

“Dallas is known for its award-winning architecture, but there were no buildings to date in the city designed by a Japanese architect. This is now the first,” says Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, founder and CEO of Harwood International.

The project also features an Edo-period Japanese castle wall, which is only the second such wall to be built in the U.S. Boulders were hand-selected on a ranch in Oregon and shipped to Dallas, where each one was hand shed with power tools and sledgehammers. Patience, teamwork and two full-time Japanese/English/Spanish translators helped the international team keep the project on track, says the submitter.

Another challenge for the project team was the twisting shape of the building, since every floor plate was a different trapezoid shape and no corner of the building is the same. This made it difficult to form up the cast-in-place concrete structure of the building, as well as to design and build the glass curtain wall. The project team worked through each of those challenges and others during design and on-site construction meetings.

“We created an office that features a unique blend of innovative architecture and gardens that Dallas has never seen before,” says Barbier-Mueller.

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