Two former students design new Dallas edible garden, event space

Chuck McDaniel


Russell Buchanan

Dallas’ new civic jewel, A Tasteful Place, a verdant, 3.5-acre edible garden and a sparkling, 3,700-foot glass-walled building housing a teaching kitchen and event space, was designed by two former students from the Texas A&M College of Architecture.

At A Tasteful Place, part of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, visitors sample delightful, daily tastings, watch expert gardening demonstrations, learn about the newest and best vegetable varieties suited for the region, and see cooking presentations in a professional teaching kitchen.

The structure, designed by Russell Buchanan ’83, founder of Buchanan Architecture, and the garden, designed by Chuck McDaniel ’79, managing principal at SWA, were lauded by arboretum board chairman Mark Wolf.

“Inspired by the movement toward growing and eating sustainable, fresh, locally-grown food,” said Wolf, “A Tasteful Place is a beautifully designed and arranged venue where guests discover, in a fun and engaging way, how to grow vegetables, what’s in season, and how to harvest, clean, cook and eat produce.”

It’s the latest in a long line of design triumphs for the two former students.

Buchanan’s pavilion, a pristine glass box with crystal-clear, floor-to-ceiling windows of low-iron glass, was described by Mark Lamster, architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News, as an exceptional work of modern public architecture.

“Above, a roof of wooden slats conceals recessed lighting, and angles up like the wings of an airplane on the exterior of the structure, creating a broad overhang that shields a generous patio from the sun and the elements,” said Lamster.

In addition to the pavilion, Buchanan’s recent work includes a digital library at the Dallas Museum of Art, a showroom for a German kitchen manufacturer and innovative designs for single and multifamily residences.

A member of the prestigious American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows, Buchanan’s architecture and furniture designs have been widely published in national and international press outlets, including Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, Architecture, Texas Architect, Metropolitan Home, Wohnen, and the I.D. Review.

A Tasteful Place’s gardens, designed by McDaniel, an Outstanding Alumnus of the college, are a 3.5-acre tapestry of ornamentally displayed fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers.

“Our North Texas climate is perfect for having produce available every day,” said Jenny Wegley, the arboretum’s vice president of horticulture. “This garden is beautiful, educational and active, so whenever you visit, there will be something new to sample, learn and experience.”

McDaniel, whose diverse portfolio ranges from landscape architecture at large, master-planned residential projects and office buildings to resort planning and design, was the lead designer and principal in charge of Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which quickly became one of Latin America’s top resorts after it opened in 1996.

His resort designs are located in Mexico, Bermuda, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Kansas, and Washington State.

“McDaniel’s success is marked by the fruition of his built projects and the recognition of his contributions to those projects from clients and design colleagues,” said SWA principal John Cutler ’67, also an outstanding college alumnus.

A Tasteful Place also includes a scenic overlook with dramatic views of downtown Dallas and White Rock Lake, and a one-acre lagoon that will soon feature a shape-changing, lighted fountain.


Richard Nira

posted November 9, 2017