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Lake Anne Village Center Named to National Register of Historic Places

by Dave Emke — July 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm 16 Comments

Restonians know how historic Lake Anne Plaza is.

Now, that historic significance has been made official by the National Park Service, as the Lake Anne Village Center Historic District has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Lake Anne Village Center, the first village of the planned community of Reston, was constructed between 1963 and 1967. According to a press release from the Reston Historic Trust and Museum:

[Lake Anne Village Center] is considered to be nationally significant in the areas of both social history and architecture.

As the first village of the planned community of Reston, Virginia, it is part of the nation’s first zoned planned unit community. Additionally, it is socially significant because it articulates its founder’s seven goals, as well as Mr. [Bob] Simon’s insistence on an integrated community in the Commonwealth of Virginia prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Lake Anne Village Center’s influences derive from the English Garden City movement, as well as European plazas and the townhouses of urban areas of the northeastern United States. The complex, designed by the New York architectural firm of Conklin Rossant, features Brutalist-influenced architecture tempered by its human scale and medieval elements. For its era, the complex presented a shockingly modern design in a Northern Virginia dominated by single-family Colonial Revival homes.

Lake Anne Village Center showcased the new town movement, with social, architectural and land-use development innovations — elements internationally recognized today for influencing subsequent planned developments in the U.S. and around the world.

Lake Anne Village Center was named a Fairfax County Historic District in 1983. In March, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources included the Lake Anne Village Center Historic District in the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The American Institute of Certified Planners celebrated Lake Anne Village Center’s status as the nation’s first Planned Unit Community zone in 2002, when it designated Simon a “Planning Pioneer.”

[Simon] introduced urban living to the American suburban countryside at Lake Anne Village Center, created the nation’s first Planned Unit Community zone, and founded a community of international renown dedicated to social openness, citizen participation, and the dignity of the individual.

Elizabeth Didiano, executive director of the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, said the new federal designation will “bring awareness to the property’s significance and encourage property owners to preserve their property through historically sensitive improvements.”

“Property owners within the historic district may also qualify for Federal or Virginia Rehabilitation Tax Credits (RTC) through the Virginia Department of Historic Resources for substantial improvements to the exterior of their buildings,” Didiano said.

She said the federal listing will not provide any further restrictions on property owners to use private funds for development.

Images courtesy Reston Historic Trust and Museum

  • 40yearsinreston

    Just as long Hudgins or RA dont get their paws on any operations it should be okay

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Hooray! So glad this happened before someone “redeveloped” it they way they did Hunters Woods and the API building.

    • Guest

      You still want litigate the demolition of that concrete eyesore known as the API building? jeez..let it go already.

      • vdiv

        One person’s concrete eyesore is another’s treasure. And what did we get in its place? Disposable generic matchbox stick row houses.

        • Greg

          Treasure? Then why didn’t you buy it?

          • vdiv

            Didn’t say it was my treasure :p

    • 40yearsinreston

      the bunker was an eyesore with no redeeming features

      • vdiv

        The mold would disagree 😉

    • Bah

      Redevelopment wouldn’t affect the “historic” concrete brutalist portion of the plaza anyway. It would be the “outer wasteland” (Crescent apts, Fellowship House, etc.) that would get bulldozed, which frankly can’t happen soon enough for me.

      • Greg

        Huzzah!

  • Donald

    Well done.

  • Generic User

    Great…now we will never be able to get paid parking here.

  • History Buff

    Maybe soon we will be able to take a guided walk through Relac and the air conditioning catacombs of old Reston.

    Children, bring your mold detection kits for a fun science workshop!

  • Observant One

    National Historic designation includes lakeside areas and gardens of Washington Plaza Cluster all the way to the Van Gogh Bridge, childrens tennis courts! Good work by the Reston Historic Trust to make this happen!

    • Lake Anne Resident

      Can we now get Federal funds to fix it all up?!

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