Back in 2016, I recognized 3525 Turtle Creek for having the best high-rise floor plans. I said they were pretty fine as-is, but also were very malleable for owners to change with the times. Most of you know this building was built in 1957 as Dallas’ first residential high-rise. Since that column, I’ve often wondered why older buildings generally have better floor plans. I mean, you’d think they’d get better – learn from the past and all that. But they don’t. I’ve quizzed a few architects and come up with a theory.
Too many cooks. Back in the early days, the architect who designed the exterior also designed the interior – typically at the same time. Working this way enabled one mind to be at work at one point in time. As it is today, the municipal and neighborhood approval processes are so long and cumbersome (and expensive) that all too often the designer of the skin is far removed from whomever eventually completes the interior floor plans after whatever concessions are (or aren’t) made. So while in the olden days the same architect would meld exterior look with interior reality, today’s agreed-upon building envelope constraints (or the unavailability of the original architect) produce sometimes bad interiors – or a few wonky floor plans.