In the early 1960s, developer Raymond Nasher leased a 97-acre (390,000 m2) cotton field on the edge of Dallas. NorthPark Center opened in 1965, as then the largest climate-controlled retail establishment in the world, and is now owned, managed, operated and leased by husband and wife David J. Haemisegger and Nancy A. Nasher (Ray's daughter).
From its inception, NorthPark Center has made art an integral part of its interior landscape. NorthPark received the American Institute of Architects Award for "Design of the Decade - 1960s" as one of the first commercial centers in the United States to create space for the display of fine art. NorthPark was honored again in 1992 with the A.I.A.'s 25-Year Award for Design Excellence. NorthPark's tradition of showcasing major works by world-renowned artists from Andy Warhol and Frank Stella to Jonathan Borofsky and Jim Dine continues with three recent acquisitions by NorthPark's owners, David J. Haemisegger and Nancy A. Nasher: the monumental Ad Astra, 2005, a 48-foot (15 m)-tall, 12-ton, orange steel giant sculpture by New York artist Mark di Suvero; the enormous, 21-foot (6.4 m)-tall, large-scale, stainless steel and aluminum sculpture Corridor Pin, Blue (1999), by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen; and 20 elements (2005), Joel Shapiro's vividly painted sculpture of 20 wooden blocks of varying sizes joined together.
The center is lauded for architecture that draws in more natural light and fits seamlessly into the original mall’s sleek, modern design. Best known for its reputation as an art museum inside a shopping center, in November 2007, Northpark Center was named as one of the seven retail wonders of the modern world along with Neiman Marcus’ store at Natick Collection in Massachusetts, Japan’s Mikimoto store in Ginza, England’s Bullring shopping center, Poland’s Złote Tarasy in Warsaw, Apple’s flagship in New York City and Italy’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II .