Construction is now underway on a twisted tower designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma for Rolex in Dallas, Texas.

Billed as the first structure in the US city by a Japanese architect, the nine-storey Rolex Building will create a new office for the Swiss watchmaker in the Uptown neighbourhood, adjacent to another office block built for the brand in 1984.

Kengo Kuma – whose recent projects include the FRAC Marseille arts centre and a latticed timber cake shop – envisioned a series of staggered floorplates that gradually rotate to create the impression of a twisted building.

This form allows a series of planted terraces to be created on every floor, plus Kuma plans to add a tree-filled garden on the roof.

Landscape architect Sadafumi Uchiyama – who Kuma is also working with on the expansion of the Portland Japanese Garden – will design the gardens, which will features rampart stone walls, reflecting pools and cascading waterfalls.

Related story: Kengo Kuma replaces the walls of a Beijing tea house with a grid of translucent blocks

“Environment is an essential concept for the modern experience, incorporating both natural and urban surroundings,” explained Kuma, adding that his aim was to create a building that “fuses nature and architecture”.

“This landscape-building idea applied to The Rolex Building will result in a beautiful urban-organic icon that will fundamentally change the Dallas cityscape,” he said.

The Rolex Building will open in late 2016, according to property developer Harwood International. It will become the ninth completed project in the masterplan for the 18-block area – also named Harwood.

The company previously partnered with Rolex on the delivery of the brand’s 1984 building, which features a distinctive curved glass facade.

“We built the first office building in Uptown, and after 30 years, Rolex and Harwood International are partnering once again to build another addition in our district,” said Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, founder and CEO of Harwood International.

“This development will set a new standard for work life in the US,” he added. “We intend on creating an office that will feature a unique blend of innovative architecture and gardens that Dallas has never seen before.”

The building will accommodate 136,857 square feet (12,714 square metres) of floor space, with 56,422 square feet (5,241 square metres) of that used for offices.

Dallas architecture firm HDF will act as architect of record for the project. The firm is also working with French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte on another project for Harwood – the 33-storey Bleu Ciel tower.

Other twisted buildings completed in recent years include MAD’s curvaceous skyscrapers in Mississauga, Canada, and SOM’s helical tower in Dubai.

by Leah Shafer

Many diners at Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar and passers by admire the Virgin de Guadalupe monument standing outside, a tile-and-brick structure that murmurs the history of the area.

This Harwood Avenue location was Dallas’ first school for Hispanic children, the 1927 St. Ann’s school house. It was located in the heart of Little Mexico, in what is now the Harwood District of Uptown, the signature development of Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, Founder and CEO of Harwood International.

After buying the historic schoolhouse, Barbier-Mueller’s company brought in an art preservationist to refurbish the tile mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They kept the original brick school building and transformed the interior into a sophisticated-yet-comfortable eatery in 2010. The second level houses The Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, an assemblage of samurai armor and related objects that is one of the largest and most complete in the world. Outside, the patio is one of the biggest and most lovely in the city.

This is just a tiny part of the Harwood empire, which spans the globe and has offices and developments in select parts of Dallas, Beverly Hills, Sunnyvale’s Gold Coast, Geneva, London’s West End, Paris, and Zurich’s Golden Triangle. But it speaks to Barbier-Mueller’s vision and European sensibilities when it comes to his work.

It’s not “out with the old, in with the new,” but rather a reimagining of space, with a focus on robust capital investment, energy conservation, leading-edge technology, green spaces, and designs that are built to stand the test of time.

Bleu Ciel, designed by HDF, LLC and Jean-Michel Wilmotte, will feature two junior Olympic-sized pools, private garages, valet and concierge services, a private wine tasting room, a private dog park, landscaped gardens, and more.

Walk around the Harwood District today and you’ll find more than two million square feet of premier class AA office, residential, and retail space in a park-like setting, with lush gardens and art-filled lobbies. Electric Harwood Gem cars zip around the district, offering free rides seven days a week to those who live or work in the area and want to get from one spot to another without melting in the Texas heat.

Barbier-Mueller is a Swiss native who married a Texan and has lived in Dallas since 1979, but he still has a passion for pleasant pedestrian experiences, a European mainstay that has only recently come into the average Texan’s awareness. One of the first things he mentions to me is Harwood’s 92 “Walk Score” and the state of the streets in the district.

“We have now assembled 18 city blocks and take great care of them, in terms of maintaining properties and mediums and cleaning up sidewalks and picking up trash,” he said. “We have more than eight acres of gardens and parks of all sizes, like you have in London or Paris.”

The international comparisons come frequently from Barbier-Mueller, who proclaims that Dallas has come into its own on the international stage, warns against provincialism when looking at the city’s future, and says, “Here, everything is possible.”

For Harwood, that means projected growth to encompass over seven million square feet of office, residential, and retail space totaling over $3 billion in development. Five new Harwood restaurants are opening in 2015, with two already open, and Bleu Ciel is slated to open in winter 2016 (with the tagline “international by design”). This will be a 33-story high-rise condominium with two- and three-bedroom homes from 1,300 square feet to more than 7,000, starting in the $800,000s.

Bleu Ciel joins the $150 million, 31-story Azure tower nearby, where the likes of Deion Sanders, Jason Kidd, and Terrell Owens have hung their hats.

Barbier-Mueller points to his homeland as inspiration for the blooming success of the Harwood District.

“[The Swiss], we take care of things: we maintain buildings and create environments that are customer-oriented and focused on customer service,” he said. “You combine that with the general global trend of people moving from suburbs to enjoy the urban lifestyle—we are lucky to have assembled this area.”

The Harwood District has been long time in the making, part of a larger vision.

“Twenty years ago, Stanley Marcus organized a charrette at my request at a vacant Jones Day penthouse with civic leader and city planners,” Barbier-Mueller said. “We brainstormed what this city could become.”

That vision is largely encompassed by what Barbier-Mueller has created in Harwood: a “village” of sorts that has appealing live, work, and play options.

“What we have in DFW is a vehicular structure of villages and I think that people will travel less because they will find what they want they are looking for where they live,” he said. “Dallas is getting very walkable within those villages. Increasingly, we are creating connection within those villages with the trolley and DART.”

One of Barbier-Mueller’s insights into Dallas’ future involves provincialism, or rather, the warning against it.

“We are finally getting international and all these companies are being attracted to what they call Dallas,” he said. “We are not competing with the suburbs; we are collaborating. Everybody is going to get their share.”

He points to Toyota establishing their U.S. headquarters in Plano.

“Toyota did go to outside of the city of Dallas, but they are in [the Dallas area]. Some people want the urban lifestyle, and some want suburban lifestyles. We’ve got to take a bigger view because people no longer compete county by county, and Dallas has finally become one of the top 15 or 20 cities.”

Mercat Bistro is one of the newest restaurant concepts in the Harwood District, a contemporary European-style bistro.
With his international work and global connections, what keeps Barbier-Mueller in Dallas, living in a Preston Hollow enclave with his wife? The growth of the city and its almost unlimited potential.

“I have this old French dictionary from 1886 and under North Texas, it says ‘Vast plains inhabited by Commanchees where a man on horseback is surrounded by grasses taller than he is on horseback,’” he said. “From 1886 to today, look how much we have accomplished, from Fair Park the Arts District, the West End, etc. It’s unbelievable. It’s a family business and we have passion for what we do and surround ourselves with people who want to make Dallas better one block at a time.” Gabrielle Gardens

Lifelong Dallasite Shawn Terry is about to have a new home address. This month, the investment banker and co-founder of MHT Midspan became the latest owner of a new Bleu Ciel condominium.

Situated within the 18-city block district of HARWOOD, the 33-story condominium tower is being developed by Harwood International. The property will offer the location and amenities that today’s discriminating homebuyers demand.

“I was looking into moving from my home in Kessler Park into the city, but there were very few options that offered the quality of design and amenities I wanted,” Terry says. “Harwood International’s high-rises far exceeded any other developer.”

Just 10 years ago, the Dallas urban living scene looked decidedly different, with few opportunities for upscale in-city living. However, the desire for work-live-play communities, local retail and a diverse yet close-knit neighborhood have fueled the development of mixed-use areas such as the district of HARWOOD.

Now, as Dallas has earned an international reputation as a cosmopolitan city — thanks in part to a world-renowned arts district, multiple sporting venues, and a long list of lauded retail and dining establishments — it has transformed in to what Terry calls an “urban oasis.” Affluent professionals like Terry want to live in areas that facilitate their active lifestyles, offer a breadth of culinary experiences and provide convenience. The fact that Bleu Ciel is adjacent to the fitness-friendly Katy Trail and within walking distance to his place of work are two other reasons why Terry chose to move.

Beauty inside and out
Inside the community, Bleu Ciel has it all: a world-class spa, innovative fitness center, two Olympic-sized pools, private garages, valet and concierge services, private dog park, private wine tasting room, and a social room with kitchen and cinema. Terry and the other residents will also enjoy select retail on the ground floor, including a gourmet grocery market offering resident delivery, bike shop, juice bar and additional dining establishments.

And then there are the views. Residents will have floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping terraces that afford 360-degree panoramic views of downtown, Park Cities and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

A prominent location, grand amenities and pristine finishes are many of the reasons why affluent professionals of all ages are moving to Bleu Ciel.

Bleu Ciel is poised to redefine luxury Sky-rise Living. Discover all that Bleu Ciel has to offer with a visit to the sales center at 3008 N. Harwood St., or call 214-965-1099. Please also visit us online and on Facebook.

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DALLAS–Dallas-based developer Harwood International has reached a lease agreement with Kansas City-based law firm Polsinelli, which will move its offices from one Harwood property, Saint Ann Court, to another this spring: Frost Tower.

The lease was represented by Jihane A. Boury and David O. Roehm of Harwood. Tom Tunnicliff and Scott Shelbourne of Cushman and Wakefield Chicago, Mike Wyatt, Bill McClung and Robbie Baty of Cushman and Wakefield Dallas, and Jeff Schwarz of Polsinelli.

“Our District is known for having the highest standard of care and exceptional amenities,” said Boury, vice president/ director of leasing at Harwood, told “Polsinelli wanted to stay in our district and we were able to accommodate their growth and increase their brand visibility with a brand new space and building signage.”

“Polsinelli is excited to be partnering with Harwood International again.  We are thankful for the marketplace’s support of our efforts and our continued growth in Dallas,” says Jon Henderson, managing partner at Polsinelli. “We started in 2011 with three attorneys and the intent to expand based on demand and being optimally positioned to serve our clients’ needs timely and efficiently both in Texas and nationally. With strong leadership and a culture of developing a partnership with our clients, we have attracted key lateral attorneys in Dallas who share the firm’s vision and commitment to serving clients with enthusiasm and high energy.  We expect our approach to continue to be attractive to lateral attorneys and those clients we have the privilege of advising in their important legal matters.”

Since opening a Dallas office three years ago, Polsinelli’s business has increased ten-fold. The firm’s Dallas office now provides clients with corporate, employee benefits, financial services, health care, labor and employment, intellectual property, real estate, nonprofit and litigation capabilities. Polsinelli has committed to six floors (16-21) and 77,000 square feet with the penthouse on level 21. The private outside terrace will feature more than 1,500 square feet of panoramic views of the downtown and Uptown areas.  Turner Construction Inc. will serve as general contractor and 360 Architecture will design the space.

Designed by HDF LLC, Frost Tower is scheduled to open this spring, and it will be the seventh phase within the district of HARWOOD. The 22-story class AA office tower will feature approximately 167,000 square feet including two office penthouses with private balconies and over 9,000 square feet of mixed retail (including a café and an Italian restaurant) and landscaped gardens along the lower level.

See the complete article here:


By Steve Brown

The Dallas Morning News


A new Uptown office tower has landed an important business tenant.

An international family investment firm has leased the top floor of the new Frost Tower, which is being built on McKinnon Street near the south entrance to the Dallas North Tollway.

The Rochon Family Office has rented almost 9,500 square feet on the 22nd floor of the new highrise, which will open next spring. The tenant also has an option to take additional space.

Rochon joins Frost Bank as the first tenants in the 167,000-square-foot office project being built by developer Harwood International.

John Rochon Jr. said the new Uptown location will support the family firm’s long-term growth. Its office is now located in Plano.

“Our world headquarters is going to reflect not only what we have built over the last 25 years but even more importantly what we are in the process of building now and for generations to come,” Rochon said. “We want our company to attract the very finest professional talent, especially in specialized areas such as finance and accounting.

“We know that having our headquarters located in the heart of the city is tremendously appealing.”

The privately-held Rochon firm has holdings in multiple business interests and operates in the international market. The family’s best know for Richmont Holdings and CVSL.

The company also has primary business interests based in Luzern, Switzerland.

Rochon looked a multiple locations before picking Frost Tower.

“While various well-known companies have moved to Dallas, here is an example of a dynamic company that has not been in the public eye moving its headquarters,” said Randy Cooper, vice chairman with commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley.

Cooper and Charlie Morris of Cassidy Turley negotiated the new office lease with Jihane A. Boury and David Roehm of Harwood International.

Dallas-based Staffelbach has been hired to design Rochon’s new office.


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