A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 13

Dallas, Texas: The Perot Museum

Perot Museum Entry

I have been DYING to visit this Thom Mayne designed museum ever since its completion, and I finally got a chance to do so. This funky cube is visible from the highway upon entering or leaving downtown Dallas and is incredibly popular, for good reason. It is likely one of the best museums I’ve ever visited in terms of interactivity and content. But, like most museums, I spent little time enjoying the exhibits and mostly admired the architecture.

Perot Museum entry atrium

While the museum was very crowded, it was still a very pleasant experience. I know that I am often very critical of architecture that is without a grid or regulatory system, but I did find this museum to be a fun place to be in.

Perot Museum Ticket Counter

From what I could tell, the building is mostly made of concrete and glass. The whole first floor’s ceiling is clad in a perforated metal screen that filters little strips of light. Very fun. It reminded me of something from out of Star Wars.

Perot Museum Lobby

One confusing thing about the building is that there are rarely any orthogonal lines present. This isn’t really a problem when enjoying the building in person, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little dizzy while Photoshopping some of the pictures I took. Here are a few that weren’t confusing in real life, but give me a headache now:

Perot Museum confusing 1

All of the intersecting planes mixed with curved walls, mixed with perforated guardrails kind of get to me.

Perot Museum confusing 3

The building is full of little moments like ^this^, most of which go unnoticed by most people.

Perot Museum confusing 2

I know my camera wasn’t level when I took this photo, but you can see how things seem to be arranged sort of “willy-nilly”. Again, not too much of a problem in person (though it did cause some issues) but very disorientating in photo-form.

Perot Museum confusing 5

^Looking up from the main entry atrium^

Perot Museum confusing 4

See the above picture? Are you at all confused about what is going on? I know I am. What are all of those intersecting angles? Why does the escalator go one way, but the stairs go another, while the third set of stairs goes a third way? Things are angled and curved at the same time. Things change orientation seemingly at random.

Excuse me. Barf break.

Perot Museum cafe

Just because the photos I took confuse me doesn’t mean that this is a bad building. On the contrary, I had tons of fun here and was mostly in constant awe from the architecture and exhibits. If I had to be critical for a moment I would have a few things to say. The building did seem to have quite a few poorly finished details, which was distracting to me but probably unnoticed by the other patrons. I was often unsure of where to go. The entry was difficult to find. Once inside, you must way-find through a maze to get anywhere. I’m certain we missed parts of exhibits because we did not know they were there. On the other hand, we saw several parts of exhibits twice because we reached what seemed to be a dead end.

Here are some detail shots:

Perot Museum detail 2

Perot museum detail 3

And my favorite, the elevator (I always love big labels):

Perot Museum favorite detail

All this criticism should be taken lightly. The Perot Museum was the most fun I’ve had in a while, due to a combination of architectural and educational enjoyment. If you live in or are vacationing to the DFW area, it is definitely worth a visit. 

One more exterior:

Perot Museum Entry

texas vernacular



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