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ARTWORKS The Pyramid / James Rossant 3–4 Untold Stories / Zachary Oxman 5–6 The Pulpit / James Rossant 7–8 Plaza Fountain / James Rossant 9–10 Decorative Pieces / Chermayeff & Geismar 11 Untitled (Ceramic Mural) / Olin L. Russum 12 The Sun Boat / Gonzalo Fonseca 13–14 The Lookout Tower / James Rossant 15–16 Wooden Horse / Marco Rando 17–18 The Underpass and The Pylon / Gonzalo Fonseca 19–20

Research and Text by Phoebe Avery, Art Historian

Public Art Reston seeks to inspire an ongoing commitment to public art and create a new generation of artworks in Reston. Public Art Reston is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. © Public Art Reston 2017

A bronze statue of an historic figure set in a traffic circle, a war memorial in a civic park, a modern metal sculpture at the entrance to an office building – these are what most of us associate with public art. Such works are familiar to urban and commercial environments. We might stop to visit them once in a while or briefly register them in our peripheral vision. But how often do we experience public art in our own neighborhood as a part of our daily lives? For Reston, however, art was a central element of the design plans from the outset. For art could perform an important role: it could uplift the spirit, provide a playful encounter and ultimately bring the community together. Thank you for taking this moment to learn more about this unique suburban locale for public art. We will begin at the historic marker located at the entrance to Washington Plaza. Please take a moment to read about the founding of Reston and the Lake Anne Village Center. As you have now discovered, public art was integrated into the initial plans for Reston. Robert E. Simon, Jr. tasked the architectural firm of Whittlesey & Conklin (later Conklin & Rossant) to not only design multi-use spaces for living and working around the picturesque Lake Anne, but also to create an outdoor plaza enlivened by works of art that would inspire the community to converse and coalesce around them. Indeed, sculpture touches every corner of the site and reaches beyond the plaza to greet the curious viewer in unlikely places. These works are an integral part of the structural fabric of the space. Most of the sculptures you will see were designed contemporaneously with the architecture and conceived as a visual whole; and even formed of the same constructions materials. Their very composition creates a structural interplay and continuum between the buildings and the open spaces that engender an active dialogue between form and function.


THE PYRAMID James Rossant, 1965 Concrete Lake Anne Village Center 11404 Washington Plaza W Reston, Virginia, 20190



As you walk toward the lake, the first sculpture you encounter is The Pyramid sitting slightly to the right of the main thoroughfare. Its creator, James Rossant (1928–2009), is a world-renowned architect and master planner whose designs include the Lake Anne Village Center among many residential and high profile commissions from New York City to Tanzania. Coupled with his professional career Rossant was a prolific artist whose works have been the subject of multiple exhibitions. Like Robert Simon, he was influenced by his European travels and his experience of communal plazas. In collaboration with William Conklin, the plan for Washington Plaza is grounded in creating a sense of place as well as a social antidote to suburban sprawl. Both Rossant and Conklin were trained by the German architect Walter Gropius and were among a loyal cadre of mid-century architects who embraced the Bauhaus concept of the “total” work of art or union of all the arts, including architecture, together. Thus, the plan for a seamless integration of sculpture with architecture at Lake Anne was a natural fit for Rossant. He would create many architectural-sculptures for the site in keeping with the plans he developed with Conklin. The Pyramid is based on an ancient prototype, yet it is a modern study in horizontal and vertical lines that mirror similar directional forces in the surrounding buildings. While Egyptian pyramids were closed structures intended to ward off intruders, this much more intimate version, rising seven feet tall, draws the visitor near and invites active engagement with its deep, stepped forms. As you walk around the work, notice how it changes shape by subtly shifting vertical blocks with horizontal ones. The many ground level openings lead to an interior space that is intentionally sized for small children. Dubbed “The Cave” by its many fans, the interior was originally outfitted with a water fountain perfect for momentarily sneaking out of parental view for a clandestine and refreshing drink. The playful, easy access of the work characterizes the element of fun Robert Simon sought to integrate into the site.


Untold Stories

As you walk toward the center of the plaza notice the gentleman sitting on the bench straight ahead. Approach him and if the space is free sit beside him. Indeed, take Zachary Oxman, 2004 a quick photo, he won’t mind. The familiar title of “Bronze Bob” was given to this sculpture contemporaneous to its Cast bronze installation and it has been a popular spot for the impromptu group photo ever since. Reston’s Founder, Robert (“Bob”) Washington Plaza E. Simon, Jr. was a resident of the nearby Heron House Lake Anne Village Center from 1993 until his death in September 2015. During his 11404 Washington Plaza daily walks around his beloved Lake Anne, Simon would Reston, Virginia, 20190 encounter a neighbor or a new face and would stop and happily engage in conversation. Even his sculpted image draws people near. Perhaps like the title suggests you might settle in for a chat and learn something new about this spot. PHOTOGRAPHY © CHARLOTTE GEARY


The internationally renowned sculptor and Reston native, Zachary Oxman, chose the traditional medium of bronze casting to create this life-like portrait of Simon. Yet he represents his subject in a relaxed and open pose creating a contemporary twist on the bronze casts of the formal and upright historic figures more typical of the medium. Certainly this seated representation of Mr. Simon with his right arm casually draped over the bench belies a sprightly character and embodies a specific personality. He appears to have just sat down for a moment ready to spring up in the next. Replete with his hallmark Greek fisherman’s cap and goatee this inviting figure characterizes the spirit of the man who championed social equality and the importance of community. Oxman captures Simon mid-speech, his mouth open and ready to expound on any topic. Commissioned to commemorate Simon’s 90th birthday and the 40th anniversary of Reston, the work would be a happy surprise for the nonagenarian when he celebrated Founder’s Day in 2004. In fact, the bench itself was temporarily (and clandestinely) removed so that Oxman could ensure correct dimensions and kept under wraps until the day of the celebrations. Just as Mr. Simon would become a familiar presence at Lake Anne this permanent installation expresses the essence of his amiable and curious character and is a lasting testament to his visionary spirit. It is thus fitting that Reston’s founder has been memorialized in an engaging work of public art and a key feature of this site.

“Equally as special as receiving the opportunity to create this sculpture, was that through this project, Bob and I became friends, shared a few martinis together and told some stories…I should say, he told and I listened…with great joy.” - Zachary Oxman, artist 6

Rossant described it as the “lookout of a sunken frigate” and “a place to look from and be looked at.”

As you head toward the center of the plaza take note of the platform rising on a cylindrical column over the inlet. Inscribed on its outer shell are vertical lines left from the concrete mold and reminiscent of an abstract painting. It is inscribed with the words, “Lake Anne1963.” This architectural-sculpture was an unplanned element designed by Rossant to optically correct the slight incline of the sea wall below. It also serves to lead the eye from the corner of the plaza outward toward the end of the quay by initiating the first of the vertical columns that would be used to support the townhouses along its edge. Built from a hollowed-out block of poured concrete, the abstract visual language befits its surroundings. It also brings an element of whimsy and a diverse vantage point to the plaza. Rossant described it as the “lookout of a sunken frigate’ and “a place to look from and be looked at.” Indeed, the curving form of the plaza recalls an amphitheater whose reflective glass walls heighten this sense of spectacle. From the top of The Pulpit, the eye follows the strong vertical lines of Heron House opposite, a building that itself blurs the lines between sculpture and architecture. From this viewpoint the extended posts rising above the building are more visible and appear to rise like irregular chimneys. Purely decorative, however, these attenuated forms enhance the sculptural concrete structure of the terraced high rise.

THE PULPIT James Rossant, 1963 Concrete Lake Anne Village Center, 11404 Washington Plaza W, Reston, Virginia, 20190


These soaring forms are further echoed in the elevated pulpit that Rossant later set in front of and rising high above the façade of the Baptist Church. It acts as a wonderful counterpoint to its smaller version on the opposite shore and provides another “crow’s nest” from which to view not only the square below but far beyond the treetops and over the natural and built landscape of Reston.



At the core of Washington Plaza you will encounter the fountain designed by Rossant. Sculpted from reinforced concrete its rounded forms respond to the hemicycle shape James Rossant, 1965 of the plaza. Only partly enclosed by low, wide curving walls perfect for climbing on, the work is conceived to be Concrete both accessible and interactive. Indeed the brick surface of the plaza intentionally swells slightly upward toward its Lake Anne Village Center 11404 Washington Plaza W perimeter and then slopes downward to form a shallow basin perfect for cooling off in the collected spray. The Reston, Virginia, 20190 pavement extends the concrete forms of the fountain with stone rays emanating out from its base, and which are best viewed from above.



The inviting, organic forms of the fountain include “stepping-stones” and “whirlpools” that imitate natural forms. With this eye toward nature, Rossant modeled the pot-like, hollow forms — set on one of the low walls — on the sand castles he made during summer holidays, some of which he fashioned with his wife’s colander. They emit a gurgling water flow. Even the manner in which water projects from the two central monoliths mimic nature — the lower one sprays a “fog” of water while a “torrent” flows down from the taller one. These two upright interior elements repeat the verticals of the architecture and bring to mind a figural grouping, perhaps a father, mother and below them a small child. The entire experience is intended to evoke personal associations that serve to delight and entertain.

With this eye toward nature, Rossant modeled the pot-like forms on the sand castles he made during summer holidays, which he fashioned with his wife’s colander.

DECORATIVE PIECES Chermayeff & Geismar, 1965 Washington Plaza store fronts Lakeside Pharmacy and CafĂŠ Lakeside Lake Anne Village Center 11404 Washington Plaza W Reston, Virginia, 20190

As you take in the ground level shop fronts surrounding the plaza notice some oversized, but familiar objects on the walls. Commissioned from the New York graphic design firm, Chermayeff and Geismar (now Chermayeff, Geismar & Haviv), who created the famous logos for NBC and PBS among many others, these larger-than-life objects reflect a 1960s Pop Art aesthetic. They transform traditional signage into universal symbols and elevate the mundane into a fanciful realm. On what was once the exterior of the pharmacy are a comb, pill, and Band-aid fit for a giant while across the way is an oversized barber pole announcing the entrance to a former tenant. Even the Plaza shop fronts were conceived as public art space with a unified graphic syntax that ideally suited the midcentury design.

Walk up through the opening between the buildings on the other side of the fountain and take the path that leads toward the underpass, one of many throughout Reston intended to encourage foot traffic on a network of walking paths separated from roads. Such tunnels can be forbidding and thus the planners wanted to draw walkers near with an inviting work of art. Based outside Baltimore the once world-renowned potter, Olin Russum (1918–88), was commissioned to create a sculptural mural for the outer walls of the underpass, of which only the right side remains. In earthen tones that reflect the colors of the surrounding landscape Russum fired his tiles in shades of terracotta, charcoal, green and sienna brown, to craft a ceramic mural of incised organic forms set in low relief. The winding, interconnected and irregular shapes are reminiscent of a landscape carved by streams and tree limbs. The form is said to reflect the shape of the original plans for Reston. From contemporary photos the work on the left side was a mirror image of the right and together the work was made to accommodate the triangular shape of the concrete walls. Indeed, Russum was sympathetic to the space he was given to work with. His design both fits into and accentuates the concise geometry while also softening the surface with the unmistakably hand modeled clay.

UNTITLED (CERAMIC MURAL) Olin L. Russum, Jr., 1967 Moorings Drive Underpass Reston, Virginia, 20190 PHOTOGRAPHY Š PUBLIC ART RESTON


THE SUN BOAT Gonzalo Fonseca, 1965 Concrete Lake Anne Village Center 11404 Washington Plaza W, Reston, Virginia, 20190


Walk back into the plaza and around the opposite side of the inlet to the square beyond Heron House. Here sits The Sun Boat by Uruguayan sculptor, Gonzalo Fonseca (1922–97). When he came to Reston in 1963, Fonseca was already an internationally renowned artist with major commissions and acclaim. He would go on to create a 39-foot high concrete tower for “The Route of Freedom” at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City and was later honored as the Uruguayan representative to the 1999 Venice Biennale. Nevertheless, Fonseca is little known outside art world circles. Ripe for reexamination, Reston is fortunate to boast two major site-specific works by the artist. Initially trained as an architect Fonseca went on to study with the painter Joaquin Torres-Garcia in Montevideo. Head of his own workshop and an active theoretician, Torres-Garcia created a style of painting known as Universal Constructivism. Fonseca directly responded to the abstract language of forms this style espoused coupled with its interest in iconic symbols drawn from ancient African and Pre-Columbian figurative art. A polymath, Fonseca traveled to Europe and the Middle East to complete his education. Along the way, his interests led him to work on archeological excavations. By the late 1950s he had established a New York studio and developed his own abstract language in carved stone blocks. The Sun Boat incorporates his signature, iconic forms. These include mysterious niches and textural elements that enliven the surfaces of his volumetric, architectural configurations and combined together conjure up imaginary worlds. If you were one of the initial clients touring Lake Anne, you might have seen Fonseca at work among the hard hats. Indeed, he became a familiar fixture during the construction and was happy to talk to anyone interested in knowing more about his work. Fonseca would spend over six months at the site

This work is the perfect dreamscape for conjuring endless games.

going beyond his original remit. In fact, the sculptor would create two additional play structures in wood that included a horse and what was known as The Building. They were located in the smaller “piazetta” or square accessed through the passageway that leads along the quay from The Pulpit.


This work is the perfect dreamscape for conjuring endless games. And it has had a magnetic pull for generations of children who instantly climb aboard ready for an adventure. Robert Simon once passed by the boat in the company of a journalist. Filled with children yelling and gesticulating Simon stopped to ask them what was the matter. Pointing to the lake, they replied, “Sharks!” He could not have asked for a better response! With The Sun Boat Fonseca created a work to take children on an imaginary voyage. Floating in a “red brick sea,” the multi-part, molded concrete play structure includes a rowboat holding a cone and a rectangular form, a post and lintel passage-way, a rounded concrete tower with viewing holes and multiple geometric blocks pierced by unexpected niches and filled with enigmatic shapes.


The Lookout Tower James Rossant, 1964 Concrete Lake Anne Village Center 11404 Washington Plaza W, Reston, Virginia, 20190


Further on from The Sun Boat, Rossant created a third platform, The Lookout Tower, reached by steep stairs and set over the low railing that borders Lake Anne. Initially designed to test the concrete for Heron House (the levels are clearly marked on the side) it has become an integral feature of the site. It is the ideal vertical counterpoint to The Sunboat and is balanced by the sixteen-story Heron House behind it. William Conklin once described the feature as a metaphorical lighthouse to guide boats in the lake while Rossant referred to it as the “moon-viewing platform”. Such evocative associations attest to the element of fantasy Robert Simon envisioned for the site. He himself described the structure as a stairway that goes nowhere and serves no purpose. Yet for him it brought the essential element of fun he desired for Reston residents creating not only a place to work and live, but also to play.

William Conklin once described the feature as a metaphorical lighthouse to guide boats in the lake while Rossant referred to it as the “moon-viewing platform.” 15

The Wooden Horse Marco Rando, 2016 Wood Lake Anne Village Center 11437 Washington Plaza W, Reston, Virginia, 20191




The newest addition to the sculptural environment of Lake Anne is by local artist and Reston native, Marco Rando. The Wooden Horse recreates a work of the same name originally designed by Gonzalo Fonseca. Enjoying his time creating the poured concrete sculptures for Lake Anne, Fonseca fabricated a few extra play structures in 1965 from left over wood construction materials he found around the site. The two works, The Building and The Wooden Horse, eventually deteriorated. While remaining true to his prototype, Rando – who fondly remembers playing on the original as a child – recreated The Wooden Horse with a variety of weathered and treated woods that will stand up to the elements. Particularly distinctive is the torso formed from a unique piece of elm Rando had dried and was saving for just the right project. Taken from the Y section of a tree trunk the artist “accentuates the chest” with this naturally occurring form. The sturdy legs are made of a treated pine whose green hue is a beautiful counterpoint to the golden colored torso and neck. While Fonseca included leather reigns and stirrups made of spade handles, Rando recreates the fanciful ears Fonseca constructed out of wooden dowels. They protrude from the abstracted, triangular head and provide the perfect place to hang on for an imaginary gallop. Rando has captured the playful quality of his model while adding signature touches through his careful selection of distinctive wooden elements chosen to accentuate their inherent natural beauty; and which are ideally suited to form each part of the “regal” animal they represent.

“As a child, growing up in early Reston, I played and interacted with Gonzalo Fonseca’s wooden horse. So to know I assisted in the continuation of transferring Gonzalo’s playful energy, is a true honor.” Marco Rando, artist


The Underpass and The Pylon Gonzalo Fonseca, 1965 Concrete

Walk along the path from The Lookout Tower toward the Van Gogh Bridge (1965.) It was designed by William Roehl, an associate partner of Whittlesey and Conklin. Linking Washington Plaza with Waterview Cluster this metal and wood footbridge was inspired by such picturesque structures captured in paintings by its namesake during his years in Arles, France. Stop for a moment to take in the lake and colorful townhouses from this special vantage point. From the bridge, turn right and stay with the canal. As you near Reston’s first underpass, notice the swing to the right. The post and lintel structure was installed by Conklin and Rossant and originally held a rounded, wicker swing also designed by Roehl. Every detail of the Village Center involved thought and planning to provide inhabitants visual delight and opportunities for momentary reflection.

Lake Anne Village Center North Shore Dr. Underpass 11404 Washington Plaza W Now you have reached your final destination, The Reston, Virginia, 20190 Underpass. In this first such subway the unusually generous dimensions gave Gonzalo Fonseca freedom to create a unified sculptural environment where he PHOTOGRAPHY Š could fully employ his capacious imagination and his CHARLOTTE GEARY signature abstract forms. The Underpass is filled with molded concrete cylinders, cubes and domes. These abstract forms press into the walls and protrude from them in various degrees from either side of the tunnel in a seamless integration with the site. Upon closer inspection a two-foot projecting cube is enlivened by imaginary niches, an etched stairway and figural forms that suggest an undiscovered civilization. Nearby a semi-circular shape evokes a crescent moon. Fonseca has also included a counterpoint to his Sun Boat. This boat, however, is raised on a platform and built into the railing seemingly ready to take the traveler on an imaginary journey down the stream that feeds the canal below.

The tunnel is bookended by three exterior works – on the Lake Anne side there is a seven-foot leaning rhomboid with two playful peepholes piercing its solid form. On the opposite end, The Pylon, another 7-foot monolith, extends the solid-void forms of The Underpass with its rounded opening perfectly sized to contain a small child. The surface, textured by the stripes left by the concrete mold, is further pierced by fanciful and evocative details such as metal rods protruding from a shallow niche. Across from The Pylon is a stepped totemic sculpture that was a signature form for Fonseca and one he repeated throughout his career. Conscious of the founding goal of Reston to create spaces for leisure, Fonseca also integrated functional elements into his design. He included benches and tables at either end of The Underpass that encourage a momentary respite. The entire experience of the site rewards the curious viewer from every angle. We hope you have enjoyed your journey through the history of public sculpture at Reston’s first Village Center and the art works that enliven it and make it a true landmark and cultural destination. Through the work of Public Art Reston, the original vision of Robert Simon and his planners will continue to be fostered and to grow with the active exploration and commissioning of new works of public art.


Gonzalo Fonseca 1922 — Born in Montevideo, Uruguay 1939–42 — Studied architecture at the University of Montevideo 1942–49 — Worked with artist Joaquin Torres-Garcia in the Taller Torres-Garcia in Montevideo 1950 — Left Uruguay to travel throughout Europe & Middle East 1958 — Awarded Solomon Guggenheim Fellowship 1962 — First solo exhibition at Portland Art Museum, Oregon 1968 — Contributed sculpture to “Route of Friendship” for Summer Olympics, Mexico City 1990 — Represented Uruguay at the Venice Biennale 1997 — Died in Seravezza, Italy

Zachary Oxman 1968 — Born in Reston, VA 1988 — Completed independent study, Studio Arts Center International, Florence, Italy 1990 — Received BFA, Carnegie Mellon University 1995–present — Has received many public sculpture commissions, has works in major collections and has exhibited works in museums throughout the US

Marco Rando 1963 — Born in Brooklyn, NY 1980 — Studied Fashion & Art Parsons School of Design, NY, NY 1985 — Received Bachelor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute 1996 — Studied Sculpture, Corcoran School of Art 1996–2007 — Created Improv Kinetic Sculpture Exhibitions for 7 museums in the US and abroad 1996–Present — Continues creating for public exhibition and private commissions 2010–Present — Teaching Art/Design/Photo for Fairfax County Public School 2012–Present — Director of STEAM Public Art Program at South Lakes High School


William Roehl 1928 — Born in Clinton, Iowa 1950 — Received BA, University of Kansas 1955 — Received MA, Princeton University 1955 — Joined Architects Collaborative, Rome, Italy (Walter Gropius & Robert S. McMillan, Partners in Charge) 1962 — Joined firm of Whittlesey & Conklin in New York City 1970 — Established his own firm, William Hamilton Roehl in New York City 2016 — Died in Noank, NY

James Rossant 1928 — Born in New York, New York 1950 — Earned BA in architecture from University of Florida 1953 — Received master’s degree in city and regional planning from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design where he studied with Walter Gropius 1965–67 — Joined firm Mayer & Whittlesey in New York as architect & town planner 1967–95 — President of Conklin Rossant Architects with William Conklin 1976 — First one-man show of projects and drawings at Gallery of Architecture in New York City 1995 — Established James Rossant Architects 2009 — Died in Condeau, France

Olin Russum 1918 — Born in Bangor, ME 1940 — Earned BA from University of California, Santa Barbara 1948 — Received MFA from Claremont Universities 1946–48 — Taught at Chaffey College, Ontario, Canada 1948–51 — Taught at School of the American Craftsman, Rochester Institute of Technology 1951 — Built studio with wife and artist, Jean, in Monkton, MD 1955–? — Taught classes at the Baltimore Museum of Art 1962 — Won gold medal in international ceramics exhibition in Prague 1998 — Died in Brooklandville, MD



1. The Pyramid by James Rossant,

1965, a stidy in horizontal and vertical lines that mirrors similar directional forces in the surrounding buildings.

2. Untold Stories by Reston native

6. Untitled ceramic mural by potter Olin

L. Russum, Jr., 1967, sculptural mural for the outer walls of the Moorings Drive Underpass, earthen tones that reflect colors of the surrounding landscape, only the right side remains.

Zachary Oxman, 2004, locally known as “Bonze Bob,” traditional medium of bronze casting creates life-like portrait of Reston Founder Robert E. Simon, casually sitting on a bench.

7. The Sun Boat by Gonzalo Fonseca,

3. The Pulpit by James Rossant, 1965,

8. The Lookout Tower, also known as

a platform risin over Lake Anne inlet on a cylindrical column made of a hollowed-out block of poured concrete, “a place to look from and be looked at.”

4. Plaza Fountain by James Rossant,

1965, at the core of Washington Plaza, sculpted from reinforced concrete, its rounded forms respond to hemicycle shape of the plaza.

5. Decorative Pieces Washington Plaza

storefronts by Chermayeff & Geismar, 1965, commissioned from the New York graphic design firm that created the logos for NBC and PBS among others, larger-than-life objects reflect 1960s Pop Art asthetic.

1965, multi-part, molded concrete play structure the inspires children to take imaginary voyages.

the “moon viewing platform” or “stairway to nowhere,” by James Rossant, 1964, reached by steep stairs, initially designed to test the concrete for Heron House, now a playful, integral feature of the site and ideal vertical counterpoint to The Sun Boat.

9. Wooden Horse by Marco Rando,

2016, inspired by Gonzalo Fonseca’s Wooden Horse relaized in 1965.

10. The Underpass and The Pylon by

Gonzalo Fonseca, 1965, The Underpass gave Fonseca freedom to create a unified sculptural environment that fully employed his imagination and signature abstract forms; and The Pylon, a seven-foot monolith extends the solid-void forms of The Underpass with its rounded opening perfectly sized to contain a small child.




Text by Phoebe Avery, Art Historian Photography Š Charlotte Geary,, and Reston Historic Trust & Museum Design Assistance: Red Thinking LLC Public Art Reston seeks to inspire an ongoing commitment to public art and create a new generation of artworks in Reston. Public Art Reston is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Š Public Art Reston 2017

Public Art Tour Series - Lake Anne  
Public Art Tour Series - Lake Anne  

Self-guided tour of public art at Lake Anne Village Center published by Public Art Reston.