Modernism & Reston












Web Sites


Reston's most adventurous community, Hickory Cluster, is a model of affordable modernist architecture. Now 36 years old, the cluster has just completed the largest component of its revitalization.

In celebration, "Modernism & Reston" explores the radical architectural style brought to Reston by Charles Goodman, the architect of Hickory Cluster. It presents the evolution of Goodman's designs of residences and communities--leading to his 1962-1964 design of Hickory Cluster.

Charles Goodman

The man who brought modernist architecture to ordinary people in the Washington, D.C., area and the most radical modernism to Reston was Charles M. Goodman. He earned fame before World War II with his design of the original terminal at Washington National Airport and a quartet of homes for Washington notables.

After the war, he turned to residential communities, including Hollin Hills in Alexandria and later River Park in Southwest D.C. Then, in 1962, Goodman was commissioned by Robert Simon to design a "Hill Cluster" of 90 homes overlooking Lake Anne Village.

Hickory Cluster

The cluster, also known as the Goodman Cluster and eventually as Hickory Cluster, was a shock to mid-1960s home buyers in rural Virginia. In the midst of plentiful land, it consisted of townhouses grouped onto one tenth of the site, the rest featuring watercourses, woods, paths, and plazas. The homes, with dramatic balconies and walls of glass, opened onto striking views and--before the trees had grown--onto vistas of the lake.

Hickory Cluster's adventurous architecture had its price. The shocking profiles and lack of tradition made it the slowest seller of Reston's original communities. Worse, the unusual plaza deck over a concealed parking garage soon developed water leaks, leading to its gradual deterioration. In 1998, the deck was condemned by Fairfax County.

After years of disruption and debate, a great fund raising processes ensued. In August 2000, revitalization began. The deck was demolished and replaced with an open-air courtyard with parking spaces. In coming years, the dues-paid revitalization will restore other elements of Hickory Cluster's infrastructure.

The Goodman Fund

Revitalization will consume all of Hickory Cluster's assessment income for years to come. To do more, the Cluster Association has established the voluntary Goodman Fund.

The fund welcomes contributions to make further improvements in the common area--such as the watercourse beautification envisioned by Charles Goodman--and to encourage an appreciation of Hickory Cluster's aesthetic values.

To contribute, you can send a check, made out to "HCA--Goodman Fund" and mailed to The Goodman Fund Committee, 11595 Maple Ridge Road, Reston, VA 20190. Or you can make a contribution at the Reston Museum at Lake Anne Plaza. Contact Richard Speier at for more information.

Driving Directions

From Washington, D.C., take I-66 to Rt. 267, the Dulles Toll Road.

From surrounding areas, take the Beltway, I-495, toward Tysons Corner and exit west onto Rt. 267, the Dulles Toll Road.

Continue west on Rt. 267 to Whiele Avenue. Turn right after the toll booth and drive about two miles north on Whiele Avenue, past Lake Anne on your left, to North Shore Drive, just after a pedestrian bridge. Turn left onto North Shore Drive and travel a half mile to Lake Anne Plaza on your left. Walk to the Reston Museum among the arc of shops near the lake.

Hickory Cluster, Reston, Virginia

Walking Tour
Start at Reston Museum, Lake Anne Plaza. Ask for a map.

"Architectural Modernism," "Charles Goodman and the Modern House," and "The Modernist Interior"
Cafe Montmatre, Lake Anne Plaza
October 26 - November 25, 2001
Daily 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
"Hickory Cluster--From Design to Revitalization
Reston Museum, Lake Anne Plaza
October 26, 2001 - January 2002
Wednesday-Friday, Sunday, Noon to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

"Charles Goodman--The Man Who Brought Modernism Here"
by Gregory Hunt, Dean of the Catholic University School of Architecture
Reston Community Center, Lake Anne Plaza
Saturday, November 3, 2001
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
"Hickory Cluster's Revitalization--How We Did It"
by the people involved in the project
Reston Community Center, Lake Anne Plaza
Sunday, November 11, 2001
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
"Modernism--Inside and Outside"
by Deborah Dietsh, author of Classic Modern
Reston Community Center, Lake Anne Plaza
Sunday, November 18, 2001
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Information on this web page came from the Modernism & Reston brochure, which is available from the Reston Museum, Cafe Montmatre, Millennium Bank, Reston Community Centers, Reston Association, and Reston Library.

Created Thursday, November 01, 2001; Modified Sunday, July 12, 2009.