River Park Mutual Homes Cooperatives for Sale, Washington, DC

One of the most unusual mid-century modern subdivisions in the Washington area is the River Park Mutual Homes. These intriguing residences are cooperatives, also called coops or co-ops, and come in a variety of floorplans. Built in 1962, the complex was designed by Charles M. Goodman. The verdant 11-acre setting is very near the Washington Channel in Washington, DC’s Southwest Waterfront neighborhood.

There are two 8-story wings at River Park plus a connecting series of townhomes with distinctive barrel-shaped aluminum roofs, lending an atomic-age flavor. The 8-story sections combine grids of windows with decorative concrete lattice work. There are 518 units altogether, including 130 townhouses.

Mid-Century Modern Homes for Sale in River Park Cooperative

Charles M. Goodman and the River Park Mutual Homes Cooperative 

At first look, the overall concept and exterior design seems quite different from the iconic low-slung mid-century modern homes that Goodman is best known for. But a closer examination reveals many of his familiar elements, including the grid-like patterns and modular elements. It is also worth noting that Goodman began his career as an architect for the federal government during the 1930s and 1940s, designing buildings for Public Buildings Administration, the Army Air Forces Transport Command and the U.S. Treasury Department. His work on these large-scale projects introduced concepts that would show up in his later designs, including a liberal use of geometric shapes.

Floorplans at River Park include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats, and three-story and four-story townhouses. The townhouses feature the exposed barrel-roof shapes on the top floor. Original flooring was parquet hardwood, although many of the co-ops have since been remodeled with strip hardwood. The complex has rows of trees and walkways between the buildings. Residents at the gated community enjoy free cable, along with 24/concierge service, a fitness center, swimming pools for both adults and children, playground and picnic area, party rooms and even a woodshop!

Washington, DC’s Southwest Waterfront

The Southwest Waterfront has seem massive changes over the years. It’s one of the oldest parts of the District, dating back to the days of fishmongers and shantytowns. During the 1700s, you could find grand mansions and fishermen’s shacks alike. But much of that is now gone, lost in wholescale redevelopment eras in the 1950s and 1960s.

One of the oldest surviving examples of early Washington is the historic Wheat Row townhouses—a section of Federal-style row houses constructed in 1794. Much of the area was razed by the government in the 1950s and 1960s, part of an urban renewal process that included office and residential buildings, as well as the I-395 freeway.

The mid-century modern era coincided with the waterfront’s redevelopment. The River Park Mutual Homes were part of the reimagining process. Harbour Square, designed by trailblazing female architect Choletheil Woodard Smith, was another large cooperative with 440 units. The development saved and incorporated the Wheat Row townhouses along with three other historic row houses into the superblock site.

Smith, who was both a modernist and an urban planner, was one of the major forces in the Southwest renewal process. In addition to Harbour Square, she built Capitol Park Tower and Potomac Place, also part of the waterfront superblock.

Today, The Wharf is again transforming DC’s waterfront. The ambitious $2 billion project is shepherded by Hoffman-Madison, covering 27 acres of land and 50 acres of water. The redevelopment began in 2014, with Phase 1 now complete. Phase 2 is scheduled for completion in 2022. But there’s tons to do and see already, with three new piers, restaurants, live entertainment, stores, movies, concerts, kayaking and so much more!

Also at The Wharf are upscale apartments, hotels and condominiums. VIO and 525 Water are luxury condos for sale, perched by the water and featuring full-service amenities and amazing views. But not everything is brand-new at The Wharf—the Municipal Fish Market (also known as Maine Avenue Fish Market) has been going strong since 1805. Like the rest of the area, it has seen some changes. But parts of the original structure have been preserved and it has never stopped operating.

More about Mid-Century Modernism in Washington Metro

While complexes like the River Park Mutual Home and Harbour Square cooperatives are fascinating examples of progressive urbanism, there are also numerous mid-century modern neighborhoods throughout Washington Metro that offer a quieter, more suburban lifestyle.

Goodman contributed to many of these unique subdivisions, including Hollin Hills in the southern part of Alexandria with 450 iconic single-family homes; Hickory Cluster in Reston with 90 townhouses overlooking Lake Anne; Rock Creek Woods in Silver Spring with 77 homes; Hammond Wood in Silver Spring with 58 houses and Hammond Hill with another 20.

Carderock Springs in Bethesda, Maryland boasts 400 mid-century homes from architects Donald Lethbridge and David Condon. Holmes Run Acres in Falls Church, Virginia is home to 355 contemporary houses, most of which were designed by Nicholas Satterlee and Donald Lethbridge. Pine Spring in Falls Church boasts 121 progressive houses built in the early 1950s, while Wessynton in Alexandria’s Mount Vernon area offers 156 homes on 65 acres of land.

To learn more about co-ops for sale at River Park, or other mid-century modern homes throughout DC Metro, call Andre Perez at District Partners at Compass (202) 798-3600.

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Listing information last updated on May 22nd, 2024 at 11:01am EDT.