Paying homage to an area’s history while boldly shaping its future is something that’s incredibly hard to pull off — unless you’re talking about the HARWOOD District.

There are important nods to Dallas’ past scattered throughout these 18 city blocks, the most recognizable being the mural outside Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar and the eatery’s building itself, which was built in 1927 as the city’s first school for Hispanic children.

On the second floor is The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, which houses the world’s largest collection of samurai armor and objects outside of Japan. The museum, which has free admission, is so renowned that even couture design house Hermès used it as inspiration for its latest scarf collection. You can also spot pieces from the collection in the lobbies of each of the HARWOOD District buildings.

There are also groundbreaking new buildings going up from developer Harwood International which will contribute to the HARWOOD District’s lasting impact on Dallas as a whole.

HDF architects has had a lot to do with giving the HARWOOD District its many distinctive looks. The award-winning, in-house firm is behind the intimate Parisian setting of Mercat Bistro, the chic and relaxed atmosphere of Magnolias: Sous Le Pont, and the massively welcome vibe projected by Happiest Hour.

The architecture and design firm partners with international architects to help shape the district, including some of its most high-profile upcoming structures: Bleu Ciel, Harwood No. 10, and the new Rolex building.

Designed in collaboration with Paris-based Jean-Michel Wilmotte (who designed the Musée d’Orsay), the luxury condo tower Bleu Ciel will redefine the Dallas skyline with its floor-to-ceiling glass walls and sweeping terraces. Curated garden environments designed by world-renowned landscape architect Sadafumi Uchiyama will add to the resort-like ambiance.

The same firm selected to design the stadium for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is also a partner on the new Rolex Building. Kengo Kuma & Associates and HDF crafted a seven-story building with 56,422 square feet of office spaces. World-renowned landscape architect Sadafumi Uchiyama has included a Japanese-inspired tiered garden featuring rampart stone walls at the base of the building, with reflecting pools and cascading waterfalls spilling over the sides. A motor court is nestled within the gardens and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks tie the site to the gardens of Saint Ann Court.

Harwood No. 10 will also create a new kind of high-rise by exploring the relationship between interior space and the outdoors, and will be designed 100-percent in-house. The 22 stories of office, retail, and restaurant space will be broken up by outdoor terraces, redefining the typical “box” space. On the 10th floor will be a 12,000-square-foot garden and fitness pavilion, including a squash court and golf simulator. A pedestrian passageway dividing this building from its neighbor will be transformed into La Rue Perdue, a charming side street of shops, restaurants, and patios.

So next time you’re in the HARWOOD District, stop and take a good look around — soon, it’s going to look even better.

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