We can all gloat about the potential demise of one of Reston's brutalist masterpieces, the former American Press Institute building, which after being vacated back in ought-thirteen, along with most of the hopes and dreams of the, whazzitcalled, "press," is now slated for demolition if a townhouse developer wins approval to build 34 townhouses and 10 condos on the property.
And to be sure, few will mourn this poured concrete exemplar of vaguely Soviet architecture, despite its pedigree (modernist architect Marcel Breuer). We have plenty of similar, arguably even more dated examples of the excess of the style that aren't going anywhere.
But are we seriously going to believe that the cutting-edge bollardy goodness that's popping up now is going to age any better?
Behold the "wave-like treatment" of the garage planned for the mauvescraper that will become Reston's tallest building.
What, exactly, will this look like after 30 years? Something tells us all those angular panels that make up the "wave-like treatment" will start looking like the dental records of the residents of Reston's English doppelganger after another derecho or two. But hey -- we may be getting our bocce court after all!
Then there's this:
Designed by Helmut Jahn and rising from the bollard and pop-up store-studded plaza of Reston Station as we speak, this will be Reston's first "starchitect" building since the modernist/brutalist hoi polloi descended on the Virginia countryside in the 1960s, confounding the Virginia Gentlemen-swilling locals with offerings like this. And to our eyes, it's a big improvement over the bland, boxy 80s and 90s office construction that plagues most of Fairfax County. But will future generations of Restonians wonder if the angular design was yet another rounding error during construction?
And then, of course, there's this:
This was so dated it was killed, we think, before it even began.
While we may not mourn the loss of API's brutalist bunker on Sunrise Valley Drive, let's also not pretend that what's being built now will necessarily stand the test of time any better than all those sunken living rooms in our swank 1970s townhomes.
Except these, of course. Fads come and go, but fanciful concrete bollards are forever.
Update: Turns out there's now some support for rethinking the preservation of this Brutalist gem. Who knows, maybe the building could be used as a clubhouse for the neighborhood that will be built around it. Or a really, really big handball court.