News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, June 17, 2013

Flashback Monday: How a Construction Error Became One of Reston's Most Beloved Concrete Adornments


What's the expression contractors love to kick around while sipping coffee and devising new excuses to deliver in surly tones to their clients while explaining why that bathroom remodel might take more than "two weeks"? "Measure twice, cut once," we think? Well, when the Lake Anne Plaza was rising from the primordial ooze, it turns out someone kinda sorta forgot about that, and we got one of our most beloved brutalist adornments as a result.

Here's the first-hand account from a recent Reston Historic Trust presentation:
"When they were building Lake Anne, they made that lake wall, but when the architects came down from New York, they saw the wall wasn’t straight,” said Cheryl Terio-Simon, wife of Reston founder Robert Simon. “Rather than tear down and rebuild a perfectly good wall, they decided to put up that, what I like to call a pulpit.”
That's what construction pros like to call an "oopsie," to use the technical term. But in return, we got this:


We'll take it.

BTW, critics of our critique of the plaza's architecture as "brutalist" should know that the term is kicked around several times during the presentation on this fancy YouTubes video. (The part about the pulpit is at around 11 minutes in.) Other terms used to describe our poured concrete goodness include "modern gothic" and "a touch of nostalgia for the medieval." We can't wait for the next renaissance festival.

But was this the only oopsie at Lake Anne? Judging by this old-timey aerial photo, it looks like the bigger, fancier pulpit on the other side of the plaza might also be hiding another small rounding error. Look closely:

oopsie 2.jpg

Close enough for government HOA work!


  1. What's the best way to hide a mistake? Make another "mistake" just like the first. Then no one can tell that both mistakes weren't intended.

    PS - Here I sat, thinking Reston was perfect. Thanks for bursting my bubble, Restonian.

  2. That entire plaza was a mistake. It's fugly and not very inviting. Then they wonder why all the shops in that place close down or are hanging on by a string...I prefer the town center any day of the week. The end.

    1. Oh hai there, troll. Enjoy the Macaroni Grill while it's still standing.

    2. Actually, I've never been to the Macaroni Grill. But I stand by my statement that Lake Anne Village center is ugly..and reminds me of Hashima Island (look it up)

    3. I just googled an image of the island. I see what you mean.

  3. Trollz eet bredstix in stoopid phat phaes.


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