Last week I was surveying a pool house slated for renovation and found myself on a street of beautiful, modern, well-sited homes. Some on overgrown lots in need of maintenance, others well kept with nicely manicured landscaping, others with stand-out additions. I took a detour from my work and slowly drove down the street, then found a side street with similar homes, and eventually found a huge community, all with these fantastic little houses. It was a mini modern architectural wonderland, here in northern Virginia, where almost EVERY home is cookie cutter standard builder models.
I got home and did some research, and found that the neighborhood I had wandered into was Hollin Hills. It was designed and built in the 1940's by architect Charles Goodman and developer Robert davenport. (Goodman designed National Airport in Washington DC). All in all, the neighborhood tops out at 450 homes. Reading through the Hollin Hills Design Review Guidelines, I came across some of the ingredients that make up this neighborhood. The following are taken directly from the Architectural Review manual:
-Houses are sited to take advantage of the topography and sun
-Views from our homes "borrow" vistas from adjacent yards, making our yards appear more spacious
-The plan arrangements are "open" with the public spaces flowing into one another rather than always being separated by doors
-The walls of Hollin Hills houses are unornamented, planar surfaces with tall, rectangular openings
-Structures should step with the slope to fit the natural terrain
They are in the process of becoming recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
An aerial photo showing the difference in siting between Hollin hills and the development just south of it:
Photos from an article from Dwell magazine that covers a restored Hollin Hills home (link):
Aerial Photo from google maps (link):
The architect Charles Goodman:
Some other photos from around the net:
In searching for info on the community I found a fantastic blog on modern DC homes for sale, Modern Capital.
Hollin Hills Website