Douglas Newby
Architecturally Significant Homes
Horse & Trolly

Architectural Setback

Maybe the worst university campus architectural site decision in America is the new SMU indoor football practice field that has virtually no setback from the street and violates the 100-year-old setbacks of the neighboring dormitories. The indoor football field building is a setback for the university for another reason, it replaces the outdoor aquatic courtyard with a 50-meter swimming pool and separate diving tower pool. The outdoor pool attracted students, professors, alums, childrens’ camps, and Dallas residents from across the city to feel welcome to visit the heart of the SMU campus. The outdoor pool also provided clear site lines of the surrounding student dorms, the Highland Park Methodist Church, Perkins Chapel, the gold dome of the Cox Business School, and the blue sky. Now, across from the Meadows School of the Arts sited in the middle of Bishop Boulevard is a five-story football field indoor practice building. Violating the existing building setback line further punctuates the overwhelming architectural blemish on what had been one of the country’s most beautiful promenades of college campus Georgian buildings. These stately buildings line the boulevard that included a median and an allée of live oaks that made their way up to Dallas Hall. It is almost as if the university took their architectural cue from small university park lots that had 10,000 square foot pseudo mansions inserted on a street of cottages owned by professors. What was the university thinking? SMU is an institution that is supposed to foster thinking. The Meadows School of the Arts across the boulevard fosters aesthetic awareness. An indoor football field practice building placed on the prime spot of the SMU ceremonial boulevard is an intellectual and aesthetic travesty. *Architectural Setback
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