• Designed as an understated expression of the structural system and used as a multi-tenant office space, the 300,000-sf project stands out among its North Dallas surrounds, a key component of the real estate strategy. Photo by Charles Davis Smith

Location Plano
Client Gaedeke Group
Architect Morrison Dilworth + Walls
Design Team Mark Dilworth, AIA; Lionel Morrison, FAIA; Joanna L Hampton, AIA; Brett Milkovich
Photographers Charles Davis Smith, FAIA; Wesley Tunnell, AIA

The line between Plano and Frisco today is a developed blur of projects referencing the history and context of the past: corporate campuses influenced by the rolling terrain of the Hill Country, copious amounts of limestone, and numerous allusions to the Shawnee Trail. Point, and you will find one. One Legacy West, on the other hand, is a white box, referencing nothing and responding to very little. It’s an anomaly of sorts.

It was clear the jury expected an outcome quite different from a speculative office building. “There was quite a bit of debate among us about the project,” says Mehrdad Yazdani, AIA. “As we know, commercial office buildings have gone through transformations over the years. More and more, they are becoming buildings that are highly sculpted and highly articulated to attract tenants.”

One Legacy’s neighbors, like the new Toyota headquarters and J.C. Penney’s complex, are good examples of what Yazdani is talking about. They explore a narrative driven by context, and too often their intent is rendered vapid in built form, hollow in meaning as the diagram breaks down to parking and functional demands.

One Legacy West, on the other hand, is an act of restraint and clarity — a clean form that thinks of itself as nothing more than a functional object that gives tenants exactly what they need. “It was a brave and refreshing thing to see the designer retreat towards a more logical and expressionist history where the logic and the structure can be read easily from the outside,” Eric Cesal, Assoc. AIA, says. “The detailing was
meticulous and was done in the right spirit.”

The composition of One Legacy West is not without fault. It’s another instance where you wish parking was nonexistent. However, the bridge that connects the garage and the tower is as spatially simple and finely detailed as any part of the building, extending the experience of the building beyond the envelope.

The clarity of the building diagram, from form to detail, was matched by the clarity of the presentation put before the jury. In 12 slides, the architects described the building through a site plan, a ground level plan, and photography that showed its refined interior and exterior details, the qualities of space it creates, and its expansive, suburban context. It conveyed One Legacy’s unique distinction as a refreshingly different place in Dallas’ northern suburbs.

Michael Friebele, Assoc. AIA, is a project designer at Perkins+Will Dallas.

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