Farewell, American Press Institute Building

by Karen Goff September 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm 22 Comments

Demolition began on Wednesday at 11690 Sunrise Valley Dr., where for more than 40 years stood Virginia’s only building designed by famed architect Marcel Breuer.

The building formerly housed the headquarters of the American Press Institute, but had been empty since API merged with another organization in 2012.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July approved Sekas Homes’ application to build 34 townhouses and 10 condos on the site.

The proposal was approved after a late effort by historians, design experts and Reston citizens, who protested that the Brutalist building should be repurposed for another use rather than destroyed. The building had not been considered for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places because it is less than 50 years old.

The building owner and commercial real estate representatives said there was no interest from other businesses to relocate to the 45,000-square-foot building.

The demolition is expected to take about three weeks. Looking through some of the holes made Wednesday, it was visible that the tear-down was happening even as some of the Mid-Century modern furniture and other fixtures remained.

  • Sally Forth

    Absolute tragedy and one of stupidest things Board of Supervisors ever approved! Impossible to believe that some of Breuer furniture is still inside… OMG. And for what? MORE townhouses? Gross and disgusting.

    • Arielle in NoVA

      They’re a bunch of greedy, short-sighted, self-absorbed idiots. They could at least have taken out the furniture and had a tag sale – or given it away if they really didn’t want it. This is all spite. This is a travesty.

    • restonista

      If they had put the furniture out on the street, it would have been gone in an instant. What a shame and just shows how out of touch these folks are:

  • RoadApples

    Excellent decision by the BOS:
    21st Century growth/Job opportunities (especially in the Construction Field)

  • Scott H

    Ugly concrete building from an ugly architecture period with ugly, uncomfortable furniture. Can’t believe we are losing this treasure and it’s contents 🙁

  • No one wanted it as an office building and the suggestion that it could be a 21st century Reston Library was foolish. And we need to get used to the fact that there will be more than 5,000 additional homes along the Metro in Reston and probably several million sf of office space. All of which will transform Reston but not the subdivisions on either side of the toll road.

    • Mike M

      It’s a done deal if the BOS can be counted upon to stay in the pocket of the developers.

      So, James, how do you feel about traffic?

      • Those are all important issues. The 5-6000 new apartments will not add to the school population but will provide an enormous amount of new taxes to support schools etc.
        Traffic will intensify around the Metro Line/DTR but the impact will not be as great on other Reston roads. And as I drive around Reston both sides of the DTR I see lots of pot holes…hundreds so there is a problem out side the TR corridor now and no one is addressing it..
        And Virginia has the worst transportation funding laws in the nation. We dropped the per gallon tax and went to a wholesale tax on gas and then added several taxes on real estate to fund roads but it is not working out. (When you sell your home you pay a “congestion tax” for funding transportation improvements etc.
        The wholesale tax on gasoline has dropped like a rock as the prices of Petroleum have dropped. The old gasoline tax was a user tax for no matter what kind of car one drive.
        And yes we have lots of challenges.
        And when I stop in Vienna or Herndon to get a bite to eat I never think about the meals tax.
        Okay I am rambling again.

        • Mike M

          Rambling indeed! I moved to Fairfax 30 years ago and I’ve heard the same nonsense about every development:
          – No new burden on the schools.
          – Increased revenues and efficiency of public funds. Economies of scale!
          – The impact will not be as great as . . .
          Never have any of these fantasies proven realizable. Yet, you are already advocating higher taxes while mine have increased steadily since I got here in the aggregate. The traffic is much worse and the schools are overcrowded despite the silly notion that South lakes was “underutilized a few short years ago.

        • MJ Hoop

          I wonder how much the furniture would have brought into the public coffers at auction. The money, if not enough for the govt to bother with, could have been used for charitable causes. Every darn thing in the world does not have to be about heavymachinery. BIG project, gazillions of dollars. But it seems to be.

    • AML

      As a librarian at Reston Regional Library, I’m curious what was foolish about the idea to move the library to the API building?

      • MJ Hoop

        It didn’t suit some moneygrubbers sense of what was right?

  • Greg

    Good riddance!

  • One Really

    The demo company could have saved some money if they’d hired that afterschool driver from Terraset.

  • Nate_VA

    Goodbye old Reston. It was nice knowing you. 🙁

    • Arielle in NoVA

      I can’t give you an upvote, because I agree with you but don’t like greedy developers and supervisors destroying where I grew up.
      I can’t downvote, because I agree with you.

  • Mike M

    Hudgins and Bulova: You like that?
    People, they are just getting started. You elected them.

  • Fountainhead

    “I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window—no, I don’t feel how small I am—but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”

  • Generic User

    Brutal. Both the machine’s effect on the building and the architecture.

    I actually work in a building on the same street. There is so much rebar that it is going to take forever. I think it is time call Miley Cyrus and her wrecking ball.

  • Karen Goff

    Well, he didn’t lie to me per se. His testimony came in front of the planning commission and board of supervisors, so technically he lied to them. What did you want to do with the building?

  • Marc Leslie Kagan

    Let’s DESTROY everything so we have no ties to the past. People get what they deserve and Reston will have no Pride of Place. Reston will look like every other city and will have NO identity it will all be one godawful wasteland. Very shortsighted.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    If only developers could be sued for tearing down buildings before locals are able to get historic protection for them.



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