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Dorothy S. Goodman

Charles M. Goodman Archive

Architectural historian Richard Guy Wilson has written that architect Charles M. Goodman was “A figure of international stature” whose “impact can scarcely be measured” and whose designs “formed the basis of the generic Modern American house and school, widely imitated in every part of the country.” Moreover, Goodman believed that “modern technology and materials gave the architect a new responsibility. For him, good design could influence how people live and how they relate to Nature . . . The result was a body of architecture of great distinction that captured Americans’ imagination for many years.” Goodman also was a consummate architectural renderer who guided an office which produced thousands of drawings, many of them perspective renderings of the highest quality, drawings which were widely published and exerted their own influence on architectural graphic style in the Post-war period. His archive is a treasure trove of his buildings, his drawings, and the post-war American Dream.

Prior to World War II, Goodman was a leading designer of government buildings, including the Federal Building at the New York World’s Fair, Federal Post Office buildings in many locations, and the Terminal Building at Washington’s National Airport. In the post-war period he emerged as one of the most successful, respected, influential, and widely published Modernist designers in the nation. He did much to define the form of the American house in the 1950s and 1960s, especially through his Alcoa Research Houses and work done for Life Magazine and National Homes, which erected more than 100,000 houses according to his designs. His Hollin Hills housing development in Alexandria, Virginia, done in collaboration with the landscape architect Dan Kiley, has been studied as a model of its type for almost five decades. His clients included many notable figures: Martin Agronsky, Eric Sevareid, Philip and Katherine Graham, Carlisle Humelsline, and Bob Straus. He was at the forefront of experimentation in new building technologies and materials, including pre-fabricated and precast construction and the use of aluminum. A wide range of building types is represented in the Goodman archive, expressive of the postwar building boom in the United States: shopping and commercial centers, service stations, showrooms, medical parks, motels, club,school and university buildings, churches, buildings for the military, the U.S. Legation in Iceland, and the Roosevelt Memorial Competition, and the planned community of Reston, Virginia.

The Charles M. Goodman Archive is the gift of his widow, Dorothy S. Goodman, and includes more than 7,000 original drawings and renderings representing more than 700 projects and commissions, dating from the 1930s through the 1980s.













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