New Japanese garden surrounds Dallas high rise

A modern take on the Japanese stroll garden is forming around the plaza level of the Trammell Crow Center in the art district of Dallas. Designed to expand the footprint of the Crow Collection of Asian Art, a free museum across the street from the Nasher Sculpture Center, this garden shows a different aspect around each side of the building. One side of the building features a stone arrangement, another a dry riverbed, another a shady grove or bamboo thicket, yet another a karesansui or flat landscape traditionally with raked gravel.

The plaza where we entered the garden.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“I have always considered the Crow Collection a museum without walls. In Asia, art and the environment coexist naturally. This garden will be a place for Dallas Arts District visitors to find art and Asia in unexpected places,” said Trammell Crow, president of the Crow Family Foundation. “I am grateful to our partners at Crescent (Real Estate Holdings) for giving us the perfect canvas for expansion.”

plaza view to the right of where we entered
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

The Dallas Arts District web site notes, “The Trammell Crow Center was deigned by Skidmore Owings & Merrill partner Richard Keating in 1984. Corporate offices are located on the upper levels of the building, and retail on the ground floor and mezzanine level.

dry riverbed makes the turn and continues toward the plaza
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“In 1997, the Crow Family Foundation made the decision to share with the community one of the most important collections of Asian Art in the United States. A 12,000-square-foot space adjacent to the Trammell Crow Center was renovated, creating four light-filled galleries that evoke traditional aspects of Asian architecture in a museum without walls.”

bell tower awaits the installation of a bell
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Planning for the new garden began by 2009, the year John Powell made a presentation on the design to the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden spring meeting. Extensive installation work began in 2011. The new sculpture garden is slated to open later this year. When we visited in June, the sculpture had yet to be placed.

a base awaits sculpture from the Crow Collection of Asian Art
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

We parked beneath the office building — nearly empty on a Saturday morning — and took an elevator to the lobby level where security directed us to the garden and gallery beyond.

a suggestion of karesansui with a yotsume-gaki style bamboo fence and clipped shrubs

It was a Frisbee competition that first took garden designer John Powell to Japan in 1993 and he fell in love with the gardens. He launched an intensive study of Japanese garden design, construction and maintenance and in 1997, he attended the first Japanese garden seminar provided by the Japanese Garden Research Center at the Kyoto University of Art Design. This was followed by internships with Suzuki Zoen in Niigata, and at the Adachi Museum of Art in Shimane Prefecture. He was the first westerner to train as a gardener at Adachi.

Powell has become a respected part of the Adachi garden family and in 2006 spoke in Austin at the Taniguchi Garden Revitalization committee on Gardens of the Adachi Museum. This was part of a speaking tour with Wataru Takeda, Section Chief of the Business and Public Relations Department at the Adachi Museum of Art and, for the California presentations, Kiyoharu Mori, Deputy Director of the Adachi Museum of Art. The presentation also was given at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Crow Collection of Asian Art, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, The Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego at Balboa Park, The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and Merritt College in Oakland.

hide and reveal — a passageway leads to a pond and a shady grove

grove of maples on the building side and a bamboo thicket on the street side

To learn more about The Adachi Museum of Art, visit their web site:

a secluded pond
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Powell is in demand as a workshop presenter and speaker for organizations such as the 6th International Symposium of Japanese Gardens in San Diego, the International Conference on Japanese Gardens Outside Japan in Long Beach and the Maple Society North America Branch.

Equisetum hymenale artfully disguises a utility area
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Powell and his wife Becky are partners with David and Pat Bergman in Weatherford Gardens Nursery and Landscaping, an organic nursery and garden store located at 2106 Fort Worth Highway in Weatherford, Texas, featured in a previous blog entry.

details, details

The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art is located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas.  The Crow Collection is a permanent set of galleries dedicated to the arts and cultures of China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia.  The museum offers a serene setting for both quiet reflection and learning.

details, details

Admission is free. The Crow Collection of Asian Art is open Tuesdays – Thursdays (10 a.m. – 9 p.m.), Fridays – Sundays (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), and closed on Mondays. For more information, please go to or call 214-979-6430.

For further information or a look at aerial photographs of the office building, visit the web site:

stone arrangement near the bell tower

The Crow Collection’s European sculpture pieces formerly displayed in this area were re-located to the Old Parkland campus.

Unless otherwise credited, photos in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. Click on any image to see it full size.

Categories: Dallas, Texas | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “New Japanese garden surrounds Dallas high rise

  1. For years I loved the European sculpture that used to surround the Trammell Crow building and was disappointed when it went away. I’m glad that the renovation is coming along so well and am looking forward to its completion. Your photos look great – I’m going to have to go down there and take a look.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the read, Bill. Hope the Asian art makes its appearance soon. Everything looks ready. The garden is enjoyable as it is right now, to my eye. But I take great enjoyment in the art of Japanese gardens — the placement of stones and plants, the interplay of various forms and textures.

  3. I had the very great privilege of working with Mr. Powell on this particular instillation. John and I have been close friends for some time and I jumped at the opportunity to explore this project with him. I encourage everyone to visit this rare jewel in the Dallas Arts District and to revisit yearly to watch as his vision unfolds.

  4. Thanks for the comments Nick. My husband and I just spent the weekend in Denver at the North American Japanese Garden Association conference. John Powell and David Slawson and Sadafumi Uchiyama were among many talented participants and presenters. John mentioned that a bell had recently been installed in the bell tower. Yes, the Dallas installation will be one to watch. Thanks again for your remarks.

  5. Pingback: Trammell Crow Center Japanese Garden | NAJGA Reference

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