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Buckingham Village

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1936–1953, Henry Wright, Albert Lueders, and Allan Foeke Kamstra, architects; H. E. Van Gelder, landscape architect. 4319 N. Pershing Dr. (intersection of N. Glebe Rd. and Pershing Dr.); North George Mason Dr. (Ballston Metro stop)

Another attempt to bring the utopian theories of the garden city movement into American suburbia, Buckingham Village was a “community of the future.” Built on 100 acres, it contains 183 apartment blocks and a neighborhood center for shopping, theater, and other activities around the intersection of Glebe Road and Pershing Drive as well as other assorted structures, including two gatehouses on George Mason Drive near U.S. 50. These are set in substantial green space and a network of roads, with pedestrian paths separate from the streets. Behind the project was the Committee for Economic Recovery (later named the Committee for Economic and Social Progress), a group of businessmen committed to the ideals of Roosevelt's New Deal who insisted that private industry had a role to play in economic recovery. The head was Allie Freed, a New York businessman who became convinced that highly capitalized home-building companies and socially conscious design could help alleviate the housing crisis of the 1930s. He purchased 100 acres of farmland in Arlington County and obtained the necessary mortgages. Governmental involvement was limited to FHA mortgage insurance. Developed in six phases from 1937 to 1953, the complex displays a consistent use of the Colonial Revival style in brick. The one exception is an apartment house at the corner of North 4th and North Piedmont streets, an experiment in nontraditional design with a flat roof and cantilevered balconies reminiscent of 1920s German apartment buildings. Henry Wright, who, along with his sometime partner Clarence Stein, led the garden city movement in the United States, worked on the initial layout before his death in 1936; Lueders and Kamstra, who had worked for Stein and Wright, continued with the project. Widely publicized at the time, Buckingham Village became a model for many other developments. Portions of Buckingham Village have been turned into condominiums and in the process painted different colors.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Richard Guy Wilson et al.
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Citation

Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Buckingham Village", [Arlington, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-01-NV13.

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 51-51.

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