News & Insights

Building the Guadalu PLAYhouse for the 26th Annual Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses

Kimley-Horn, Balfour Beatty, and Woodhaus, Inc. Partner to Support Underserved Kids

The Guadalu PLAYhouse presented with a sign reading the designers and builders, Kimley-Horn and Balfour Beatty

For the third year in a row, Kimley-Horn’s Jonathan Campbell has gathered a passionate, driven team of Kimley-Horn teammates and industry partners to participate in the Parade of Playhouses. This annual design competition hosted by the non-profit Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) raises funds to provide the legal and emotional support needed to help abused and neglected children find safe and stable homes. Kimley-Horn collaborated closely with Balfour Beatty and Woodhaus, Inc. to create the Guadalu PLAYhouse, highlighting the beauty that can be found in the natural formation of the Guadalupe Mountains.

Dallas CASA’s annual event, the Parade of Playhouses, joins builders, designers, and contractors throughout North Texas to collaborate in groups, sharing resources and ideas, to ultimately create themed playhouses to present at the parade. Anyone can support the organization by purchasing raffle tickets to put toward a chance at winning their favorite playhouse. At the end of the event, each playhouse is raffled off and winners can choose to either keep or donate their prizes.

Last year, Kimley-Horn collaborated with Balfour Beatty and Brightview on a playhouse design that brought attention to sustainability, educating children about how to grow their own plants to produce food. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the team felt a message of sustainability and security through self-reliance was important to share.

Kimley-Horn's 2020 Harvest House Playhouse

Design of the Guadalu PLAYhouse

The Guadalu PLAYhouse is modeled after the iconic Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas and represents all that nature has to offer. The design incorporates a strata paint technique designed by Kimley-Horn Landscape Architect, Madison Wavra, to visually represent rock sedimentation, following a realistic shape that flows like the mountain range it takes after. Animals and plants were strategically placed in the design to mimic a natural ecosystem.

Kimley-Horn’s Nik Adams and Ben Levy wanted to design a playhouse unlike those Kimley-Horn has created in the past, foregoing a typical box design, while staying within Dallas Casa’s required parameters. Together, they arrived at the idea to engineer a landform made to mimic a topographic 3D model of the Guadalupe region, giving the playhouse various layers to represent each level of elevation change. 

The design includes 5-foot entryways, sturdy recess walls, an inside bench, and expanded widths, making it accessible to both children and adults. Ben shared how the team arrived at the idea of accessibility, “We’ve observed in the past that kids love the playhouses, but they wanted their parents to join in on the fun with them,” Ben explained. “This year, we intentionally made the playhouse so parents can comfortably play with their kids.”

Kimley-Horn is grateful to once again be part of creating a playhouse that benefits Dallas CASA.

“At the end of the day, it means a lot that we have a small hand in helping an organization that has an incredible mission to help kids who are in need. If we can help be an avenue to benefit the organization, we’re excited to do it. It’s been an honor.”

About the Parade of Playhouses

Dallas CASA’s 26th annual Parade of Playhouses will be held July 9th to July 25th at NorthPark Center in Dallas. For your chance to win one of the eight playhouses, you may purchase raffle tickets online.  All proceeds from the raffle benefit the Dallas CASA organization and the children they serve.


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