Someone please educate us about architecture

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All over LA, there are four unit apartment buildings with basically the same design:

  • Roughly 4,000 sq ft
  • Two units upstairs, two units downstairs
  • Separate entrances
  • Parking in the back for four cars

They were all developed between, say, 1920-1929 (though you can sometimes find what I think of as early prototypes built in the 1910s).

I love renovating these buildings, because you can make them into nice places to live. (And, indeed, I live in one myself!).

Having ripped open god knows how many of these things, we’ve become intimately familiar with the slight differences in the designs (things like where the closets are and how the staircases run up into the upstairs units).

But I don’t know how all of these similar buildings got built. Who designed them? Was it one architect whose plans were copied endlessly? Several? Did a small number of developers do all of them? Was there something about the permitting / zoning system at the time that compelled builders to choose this format?

If you have any insight, I would love to hear from you. Please get in touch and, if you want to write something in-depth, I will happily republish it here and credit you.

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