What is Mid-century Modern Architecture?
Hollin Hills was the first community in the Washington, DC Metro area to be made up entirely of contemporary homes. The 326-acre tract was developed by Robert Davenport and the Rodman brothers. Renowned architect Charles Goodman was chosen to design this visionary mid-century modern subdivision.
All of the houses in Hollin Hills represent a design aesthetic rarely expressed in the Washington Metro area, and certainly not in such a concentrated way. The houses' modern feel is shaped by abundant glass to bring the outside in, clean geometry, with both horizontal and vertical lines working in concert, low-slope or flat roofs, and unadorned and uncluttered exterior surfaces.
Although planning had been underway for several years, the first house was completed in 1949. Subdivision development moved roughly east to west. The first streets were Stafford Road, Glasgow Road, Beechwood Road, Bedford Lane, Drury Lane, Pickwick Lane and Rippon Road. The names were selected to complement the community name, itself a variation of Hollin Hall Plantation.
Other streets were named for the developer's family -- Davenport Street, Martha's Road (Davenport's mother), Rebecca Drive (his daughter), Recard Lane and Nemeth Court (family names). Elba Road and Nordock Place were named for Davenport's prize bulls. Beechwood Road was named for the trees lining the street and Daphne Lane for the flower. Popkins Lane takes its name from a farm that used to be on that hill. The newest streets, built after 1960, were selected from a list approved by Fairfax County.
The last Hollin Hills house, on Kimbro Street, was finished in May 1971. And with that house, the community of 458 homes was complete.
Hollin Hills today comprises 483 households:
- The original 458, save for one that was torn down because its property was extremely prone to flooding
- Two non-Goodman homes on Rebecca Drive
- Five on Delafield Place or Brentwood Road sites
- 19 traditional homes on the cul-de-sac end of Range Road
While additions are a prominent part of the current landscape, the original aesthetic and sense of architectural continuity has lasted for more than 60 years. Drive around the neighborhood and you will see, with only a few non-Goodman-designed exceptions, a subdivision working as a stylistic whole, continuing to exist as the founders imagined.
Homeowner adherence to the covenants set up by Davenport and his colleagues at the beginning, and which run with the land, has been critical to the vision successfully remaining in place. That and neighborhood commitment to following the design review process for ensuring that exterior changes are in harmony and conformity -- outlined in the covenants so long ago.
Recognized many times in the past for its architectural and design vision, Hollin Hills was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.
(38.760481, -77.06073) 38° 45' 37.7316'' N77° 3' 38.628'' W