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River Park

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1962, Charles M. Goodman Architects. 4th St. and Delaware Ave. and N and O sts. SW.

The River Park neighborhood cooperative was constructed in 1962 as part of Southwest’s sweeping urban renewal plan that replaced rowhouses with apartment towers and displaced scores of African American residents. The project set an example for similar redevelopment efforts across the nation. The project's developer, Reynolds Aluminum Service Corporation, had resolved to demonstrate the use of aluminum in urban renewal projects. The architect, Charles M. Goodman, had acquired a notable reputation in the Washington, D.C., region, completing projects like the Reagan National Airport, Hollin Hills, and Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia. In addition to Goodman’s innovative use of aluminum, the project also represents the first use of a central heating and cooling plant for town houses. River Park is also significant for becoming one of the city’s first racially integrated apartment complexes.

The apartment towers form a wall-like configuration along Delaware Avenue, as if to block their residents' view of public housing across that thoroughfare. The town houses are distinctive for their barrel-vaulted roofs, a feature intended to contribute visual excitement to the project. Aluminum is used throughout the high rises and the town houses in window frames, doors, sunscreens, garden fences, outdoor sculpture, and staircases. Of particular note is the grillwork, punched from aluminum sheets. The town houses are arranged around smaller courtyard spaces and parking is removed to the periphery of the site.

Interested residents had multiple options for interior arrangements and space. The apartments came with multiple bedroom options as well as studios, and town houses came in multiple layouts of two, three, and four bedrooms. All dwellings ncluded floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows and parquet wood floors.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee
Updated By: 
Vyta Baselice (2020)



  • 1962


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Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "River Park", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 241-242.

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