The redevelopment of central-city urban Fort Worth has been going on since the 1980s, but one thing we’ve always lacked is a true central public space for the city to gather in - a big outdoor living room to tie it all together.

Today, that changed at last. Two parking lots in the middle of the Sundance Square district in the heart of downtown have been ripped up and over the course of months, the site has been transformed into a truly stunning central plaza that opened today. I stopped in at around 9:00 PM tonight and found it packed.

The eastern half of the plaza features four giant automatic umbrellas, made in Germany, that open every day to provide shade from the Texas sun. On the east is also an elegant pavilion and an active “wave wall” along outdoor patio seating.

The western half of the plaza features more seating, and an interactive fountain system fronting an outdoor stage for music and theater, and a clock tower.

The entire plaza is bookended by two new buildings - the Westbrook and the Commerce - and two restored historic building, the Jett Building (with the Chisolm Trail mural on its back) and the Land Title Block building.

These photos capture the breathtaking design of the plaza and its classic, traditional architecture, and showcase how it promises to become the true engaging public space that urban Fort Worth has needed.

All photos © 2013 Kevin Buchanan. All rights reserved. All photos taken with my Fujifilm X100.