Petition: API Building: ‘Crucial Chapter in Reston’s Rich History’

by Karen Goff June 8, 2016 at 10:30 am 13 Comments

Front of API BuildingSupporters of saving the former American Press Institute building have started an online petition to protect the Brutalist building from the wrecking ball.

The building was designed by noted architect Marcel Breuer, who also planned Atlanta’s Central Library, the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City, and buildings at Yale University and New York University, among others.

The building housed the API from 1974 to 2012. It has been vacant and for sale since 2012.

Sekas Homes is looking to rezone the 4.6-acres of land from industrial to residential in order to build 34 townhouses and 10 condominiums at 11690 Sunrise Valley Dr. A county staff report recommends approval of the application.

There has been a last-minute effort, including letters from the Fairfax County Architectural Review Board and state historical society, to stop that process.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission toured the empty building last week and will make a recommendation on June 16.

The building is the only Breuer-designed project in Virginia and should be given historical designation, some say. Others are of the opinion that it is an outdated office building that is ripe for redevelopment. A planning commission public hearing was held last month.

Here’s what the petition says:

The American Press Institute (API) building in Reston, VA, is under the threat of demolition.

It is the only building in Virginia by the internationally acclaimed architect Marcel Breuer, “a master of Modernism” who also designed the Whitney Museum of American Art (now the Met Breuer), UNESCO Headquartersin Paris, and the HUD buildingin Washington, D.C.

For nearly 38 years, tens of thousands of news media executives — representing a “Who’s Who in Journalism” — attended leadership seminars in the nonprofit’s Breuer-designed headquarters in Reston.

  • The API building is historically and architecturally significant.
  • It is a crucial chapter in Reston’s rich history.
  • It should have a second life instead of being torn down.

That’s why we’re asking you to sign this petition to save the API building.

On June 16, the Fairfax County Planning Commission will make a final decision on a local developer’s application for rezoning the property from business to residential and a demolition permit.

If the commission and, soon after, the Board of Supervisors approves this plan, the building will be razed so that single- and multi-family housing can be built on the site.

A growing coalition — local and nationwide — questions this plan given what’s at stake, including:

  • Fairfax County Architectural Review Board (ARB)
  • Fairfax County History Commission
  • Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Historic Resources
  • Reston and other Fairfax County residents
  • Community leaders
  • Architects, historians and preservationists
  • Journalists and other news media executives across North America who attended API programs
  • Former API staff members
  • Those who believe that architectural treasures should be preserved

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