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The Best and Worst Designed Apartment Buildings in FW (and WHY)

apartments multifamily design architecture fort worth good design policy

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#1 Urbndwlr

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 11:02 PM

What are the best designed apartment buildings in Fort Worth, built since 2010? 

What are the worst

Why are they the best or worst designs? 

 

Are there some design elements or approaches (or combinations thereof) that are safe to say, always bad or always good? 

 

Notes: 

- Identifying why is important to try to identify what about the design makes it succeed or fail.

- Feel free to list multiple.  Doesn't have to be #1 best or worst. 

 



#2 Nitixope

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 11:40 PM

Trinity Terrace (River Tower) seems like it has a lot going for its design based on location, vistas, amenities, layout and general look and feel. Never been inside and I realize it is a retirement community but not sure why that would disqualify it.

TT_12767_Homepage_Header1_1920x900.jpg

Might as well also throw in The Stayton at Museum Way retirement community. I like the way the architect staggered or splayed the three towers to maximize views and privacy at the same time so that you are not looking in on others but still able to see the city. I like that the exterior has a light feel with clean lines and a unified facade design and not overworked versus some other apartments these days look too disjointed and sort a cheap, schizophrenic look. From the photos it also appears to have pretty good indoor/outdoor spaces as well. I want to say buy-in was $500k-$1M+ plus fees but that's just from quick searches.
 

cs-stayton-H.jpg



#3 Austin55

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 08:03 AM

I don't know that I have a particular nomination for best, there's just so many, but Bottle House on Main is some really awkward architecture in my eyes. My nominee for the worst. 

bottle-house-on-main-fort-worth-tx-build



#4 roverone

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 08:28 AM

In the pre-thread for this subject there was mention of complexity and simplicity, and for sure those play part in how we interpret designs.  There is also the important element of what scale we interact with these developments.  As things grow into towers, the repetitions are viewed more as textures than monotony because the expectation is that it is viewed it from a distance.  There is also a shift of expectations from residential to commercial.  Going to the other extreme, a block full of identical single family homes, no matter how nice the individual design, becomes distasteful.

 

These mid-sized apartment completes fall in this awkward middle space, too small for their repetitions to look like the texture of a commercial building and too large for the full-on variation of a typical neighborhood of single family homes to work.  (which is not to say that random variations cannot themselves be a type of texture, like variations in a pile of river rocks has a small scale differentiation and a large scale uniform similarity)  They end up looking institutional.

 

I think I'm most frustrated with the geometric aspect that is unchangeable in our super-cost-sensitive kind of market, and that everything is going to be a box.  Not a wedge, not a pyramid, not a box with holes in it, just a box.  How you color up the outside is a second order issue after geometry.

 

I always want there to be an attention to detail; that for every decision made that it leaves the impression that there was a thoughtful reason for doing it that way.  The example Austin55 just provided has material changes vertically mid-way through windows -- it would be interesting to hear the the thoughtful reason behind that.



#5 Austin55

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 11:12 AM

A good number of multifamily communities in Fort Worth were designed by Dallas-based JHP Architecture. If you want a one stop look at what apartments these days look like, their portfolio is a good start. 

https://jhparch.com/portfolio



#6 txbornviking

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 12:03 PM

Trinity Terrace (River Tower) seems like it has a lot going for its design based on location, vistas, amenities, layout and general look and feel. Never been inside and I realize it is a retirement community but not sure why that would disqualify it.

TT_12767_Homepage_Header1_1920x900.jpg

Might as well also throw in The Stayton at Museum Way retirement community. I like the way the architect staggered or splayed the three towers to maximize views and privacy at the same time so that you are not looking in on others but still able to see the city. I like that the exterior has a light feel with clean lines and a unified facade design and not overworked versus some other apartments these days look too disjointed and sort a cheap, schizophrenic look. From the photos it also appears to have pretty good indoor/outdoor spaces as well. I want to say buy-in was $500k-$1M+ plus fees but that's just from quick searches.
 

cs-stayton-H.jpg

 

 

I'll agree that The Stayton is a solid example of a style/form we could use more of



#7 Nitixope

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 12:46 PM

In the pre-thread for this subject there was mention of complexity and simplicity, and for sure those play part in how we interpret designs.  There is also the important element of what scale we interact with these developments.  As things grow into towers, the repetitions are viewed more as textures than monotony because the expectation is that it is viewed it from a distance.  There is also a shift of expectations from residential to commercial.  Going to the other extreme, a block full of identical single family homes, no matter how nice the individual design, becomes distasteful.

 

These mid-sized apartment completes fall in this awkward middle space, too small for their repetitions to look like the texture of a commercial building and too large for the full-on variation of a typical neighborhood of single family homes to work.  (which is not to say that random variations cannot themselves be a type of texture, like variations in a pile of river rocks has a small scale differentiation and a large scale uniform similarity)  They end up looking institutional.

 

I think I'm most frustrated with the geometric aspect that is unchangeable in our super-cost-sensitive kind of market, and that everything is going to be a box.  Not a wedge, not a pyramid, not a box with holes in it, just a box.  How you color up the outside is a second order issue after geometry.

 

I always want there to be an attention to detail; that for every decision made that it leaves the impression that there was a thoughtful reason for doing it that way.  The example Austin55 just provided has material changes vertically mid-way through windows -- it would be interesting to hear the the thoughtful reason behind that.

 

As far as answering the question of how to interpret the design of all these new mid-rise apartments, two words come to mind "labor" and "material."  This article does a good job of explaining the design and construction behind many of these apartment buildings we're seeing pop-up.  As we all know from this past year's material escalation, all forms of construction are becoming more expensive; even building a simple fence in your backyard has increased considerably.  There's a give and a take / push and pull in there between budget and design.  These type of mid-rise, wood framed apartments are designed to use materials and methods that cost less than steel and concrete construction.  Also, working with lumber has its advantages being is more adaptable to changes, sometimes easier to source and the labor is a factor because you can utilize subcontractors operating on thinner operating margins with low overhead, sourcing their labor from a wider pool of workers, where larger subs often have higher overhead making them not competitive on these types of projects.    You're still getting hopefully what is a quality building but it's two totally different approaches to handling material selection and labor utilization, which is all dictated by the design.

 

To cite a contrasting example from a local project was the Kimbell Museum Piano Pavilion.  I'm generalizing a bit here, but the architectural concrete walls that were specified throughout the museum involved flying in a special concrete finishing crew from Italy that were experienced in working with this type of material to achieve that look and feel required by the architect's design.  At that point, the question becomes "what is it going to take to get this project done and what is it going to cost?"  If allowed, a design can be as simple or sophisticated as a project requires but it will have a direct impact on the cost of completing the project.  At some point the project owner's budget must dictate to what degree of sophistication a design is allowed to achieve.



#8 Volare

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 07:52 AM

The question assumes that there is more than one design being used for the vast majority of the apartments being built. To the naked eye, it sure seems like that is not the case, and rather, a cookie cutter approach is being used to stamp out the cheapest, the fastest. 30 years from now this will not be looked on kindly at all as these building deteriorate.



#9 rriojas71

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 11:46 AM

Volare... I completely agree.  Of all the newer complexes built I think the Broadstone on Summit and 5th is by far the best but it is by no means a great design.  I don't know if it qualifies but the Forest Park Tower that is now a condo tower is my vote for best.  I also think several of the apartment buildings on Hulen and Bellaire are pretty cool when you explore the interior walkways.







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