Historic Reston, Virginia

Reston is a community based on three fundamental, interrelated ideas:

  1. People should be able to live near the place where they work if they want to.
  2. Housing should be available for all people of all income groups if they wish to live and work in the same community.
  3. Diverse cultural, religious, educational and recreational facilities should be an integral part of the community from the beginning.

Reston is a self-contained community where people may live, work, learn and play if they choose to do so. It is not a sub-division, or a suburb, a small town or an isolated city — it is rather a small city, urban in character, open-spaced in design, related to other nearby communities and the principal city of the metropolitan area, Washington, D.C.

The Master Plan

The Reston Master Plan calls for seven shopping and community centers, each to serve a "village" of from ten-to-twelve thousand people, an industrial, research and government center of almost one thousand acres, recreational areas of more than fifteen hundred acres, thirty-five churches, fifteen elementary schools, three intermediate schools, and three high schools, one community college or post-graduate facility, and a "downtown" area to include a medical complex, transportation terminal, hotel, conference center, multi-purpose auditoria, and much more.

Under the Master Plan, an enormous amount of land has been "saved" by high-density development and the clustering of townhouses. This land will be available for public enjoyment in the form of golf courses, parks, nature center, children's' zoo, riding trails, ball fields, and many others. With a population estimated to become seventy-five thousand, Reston will nevertheless have more open space, and a great many more facilities, than any ordinary suburb, town or city.

Recreation and cultural facilities have been part of Reston from the beginning of construction. The North Reston Golf Course, the Reston South Riding Center, and the swimming pools and tennis courts came first. Lake Anne Center, the first of the seven centers to be completed, was opened long before population growth began. The shops, restaurant, drug store, bank, library, youth rathskeller and community center were all in operation when most residents moved in.

At Reston, boating, fishing, camping, gardening, badminton, hiking, playgrounds are all at your doorstep. The nursery-kindergarten right in Lake Anne Center is in full swing; the first elementary school and the first church will be ready for use in early 1967. Regular church services by Reston's resident ministers are being held in the community center. Community and cultural activities are plentiful and various-from cluster association meetings to concerts, from film and lecture series to cub scouts and ballet classes. Five years from the time the land was purchased in 1961, Reston, a whole new community, has been born.

Reston has won wide public acclaim. But more important than this is the fact that the dignity and importance of each individual has been the focal point for both planning and development. A sense of place has been achieved. In the words of Gertrude Stein, "There's more there there."
"A community is only good when it is designed for the individual — to give each person the opportunities which mean most to him."

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Residential Clusters

When Hickory Cluster was designed in 1962-63, Charles M. Goodman, FAIA (1906-1992) had already achieved national prominence for his modern residential designs and subdivision planning. For nearly two decades, he had worked tirelessly to promote modern architecture in a wide variety of building types, and most particularly in his custom homes and residential communities.

As buildings. Goodman's designs featured clean, crisp profiles; absence of surface ornament; large areas of glass; and the innovative use of modern materials. His spatial arrangements minimized circulation space and visually merged inside with outside. Further, his interiors utilized simple textures, natural materials and abundant daylight.

As residential communities ranging in size from 12-unit subdivisions to complexes with hundreds of low-rise townhouses and apartment buildings, his designs emphasized intelligent land planning; open green spaces, walking trails and playgrounds; and exterior terraces, decks or balconies for houses and apartments. Moreover, buildings and unit types were designed to provide choice and variety for their occupants while promoting both community and privacy.

Goodman was a prolific innovator, believing that "...the techniques of modern history can serve man's need for beauty as well as, or even better than, the ancient art of handcraft." From his early explorations of simplified wood detailing and structural systems to his later experiments with prefabricated components in wood, aluminum and concrete, he consistently sought to utilize new and improved building materials and construction assemblies.

Hickory Cluster emerged from the fertile mind of an architect who was unabashedly modern in his creative sensibilities - one who wished to use these talents to enhance the life of those who would experience his buildings and communities. As he once so poignantly noted: "To create surroundings conducive to renewal of the individual spirit is perhaps the highest goal of architecture."

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