The Philosophy of Charles Goodman


To mark the 10- year anniversary of Hollin Hills, residents published a small booklet celebrating their award-winning modernist community. In an interview column entitled  “We Talk to Goodman,” the architect expounded on his design philosophy and what it is like to be an architect.  It is interesting to read after writing so much about Goodman and now finally owning one myself. Here are some of Goodman’s reflections:

Goodman Park sign

Architecture and community:

“Architecture reflects the social phenomenon. What we yearn for and need is the flowering of the individual. We deeply need more offbeat personalities, more people with unique interests, more people strong enough to stand unafraid and be themselves. We need them not just in houses but in communities where their influence can be felt. We need unity in diverse interests. The dignity of the individual can come about only by self-examination and creating a physical climate conducive to self-examination. This doesn’t mean conformity–trying to make yourself the same as others–just the opposite.”

Charles Goodman

Charles Goodman


“All the antennae of a true architect must be tuned to beauty. Believe me, beauty is a rare commodity wherever man has been. Man has an uncanny knack for fouling his environment. Then we appoint committees to try to see what can be done with the awful mess we have made of things. A committee never did anything yet.”

 The Life of an Architect:

“Nobody tells a lawyer how to plead a case or a doctor how to stitch you up, but everybody tells an architect what to do. People who ought to know better, big tycoons are brim full of ideas–and their sensitive wives have thought of more ideas. If mistakes are made, the architect is to blame. If things go well, it is because the tycoon’s wife–bless her–had the insight to tell the stupid architect to include it.”

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March 12th, 2015

Mid-Century Mike



6 to “The Philosophy of Charles Goodman”

  1. Christopher says:

    Can the entire booklet be found online or otherwise purchased? Would be great to read for those of us living in other Goodman homes outside HH.

  2. Matt says:

    Why so much talk about Goodman and not Davenport? I guess it depends on what you read but kind of seems like Davenport was the brains behind HH.

  3. I will work on posting a similar item on Davenport.

  4. I do not think the booklet is online or for sale. I got my copy from one of clients, a longtime resident of Hollin Hills. The booklet mostly focuses on Hollin Hills and the residents in the neighborhood.

  5. Anna says:

    That photo shows an image is suspiciously identical to my grandparent’s house, down to the atrium, sculpture and my grandmother’s baby grand – and heated slate floors (no you can’t see the warmth but I can still feel it on my feet). Goodman designed their house – do you know the origin of the photograph?

  6. That is a picture from Goodman’s own house in Alexandria. Where is your family’s house?

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