Wright Park

Wright Park (HM1I5Q)

Location: Arlington, VA 22203 Arlington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 52.319', W 77° 6.598'

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This park is named for Henry Wright, born in 1878 in Lawrence, Kansas, and raised in a Quaker family. Wright's exposure to functional Quaker architecture and his father's position as a local city planner impacted his designs. He studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania before opening an office for landscape architect George Kessler in St. Louis. In 1923, Wright moved to New York City to join Clarence Stein's Regional Planning Association of America where he helped plan three of the nation's most cited examples of Garden City architecture: Sunnyside Gardens (Queens, NY), Chatham Village. (Pittsburgh, PA), and Radburn (Fairlawn, NJ).

In Garden Cities of To-morrow (1898), Sir Ebenezer Howard of Great Britain initiated the Garden City Movement by proposing well planned, self-sustainable communities designed to provide the amenities of the city in a rural setting. The movement emphasized providing opportunities for social and cultural development within the community and embraced open space, convenience of nearby commercial businesses, and low rents. The developments were typically apartment units or duplexes. Wright became a staunch supporter, yet adapted and improved upon its ideals to suit his design philosophy. He provided high-quality dwellings to middle-income residents in metropolitan areas suffering from housing shortages.

Paramount Communities, Inc. started construction of Buckingham Village in 1937 with its first unit opening to residents the same year. Constructed in six phases, Wright designed the initial phase of the community before his death in 1936. His basic site plan, principles, and influence, however, were continued throughout the subsequent planning by his former employee, Allan Kamstra. Following the tenets of the Garden City Movement, the early development of Buckingham Village predominately featured two-story Colonial Revival-styled multi-family dwellings made distinct by varying roof types (gable or hipped) and door surrounds. The U-shaped buildings were oriented around an interior courtyard, which created open green spaces that served as recreational areas. Walkways connected the dwellings, courtyards, commercial services, and playgrounds, effectively separating pedestrian and automobile traffic. Constructed within a year of the initial residential buildings, Buckingham Shopping Center eventually included a bank, grocery store, pharmacy, post office, and movie theater.

Several innovative design techniques were used at Buckingham Village, including assembly line construction and adjusting plans based on resident feedback. Allie Freed, President of Paramount Communities, streamlined the construction process by purchasing directly from the manufacturer and prepackaging materials for individual units. This allowed Freed to adapt the units' floor plans to accommodate residents' preferences for one-bedroom apartments and dining space in the living room rather than the kitchen without increasing construction costs. The success of Buckingham Village contributed to the overwhelming popularity of garden-style communities in Arlington County. The Buckingham garden apartment complex is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with portions designated as local Arlington County Historic Districts.

(upper left) Henry Wright, 1936. Photograph by Carl Maydens, Courtesy of the library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
(lower left) Aerial photograph of Buckingham Village at the intersection of North Glebe Road and North Pershing Drive, 1940. Courtesy of Arlington County Planning Department.
(lower right) Paramount Community Advertisement, late-1930s. Courtesy of Arlington County Planning Department.
HM NumberHM1I5Q
Placed ByArlington County, Virginia
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, December 4th, 2014 at 9:02am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 316956 N 4304686
Decimal Degrees38.87198333, -77.10996667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 52.319', W 77° 6.598'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 52' 19.14" N, 77° 6' 35.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 703, 571
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4000 4th St N, Arlington VA 22203, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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