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A Film Proposal:

Cheap and Lofty

Home | Content | Visual Style | Distribution & Personnel | Budget

Cheap and Lofty tells the story of how visionary builder Bob Davenport and modernist architect Chuck Goodman created one of the most remarkable communities in America – Virginia’s Hollin Hills. It is a colorful, anecdotal foray into the early manifestations of modernism in suburban housing, and the community which brought a unique vision to life.

The film will bring us into Bob Davenport’s life in public service, from his early work with Henry Wallace and the U.S. Department of Agriculture through his life-long relationship with the Hollin Hills community. It will explore the origin and heritage of Chuck Goodman’s vibrant architecture, and consider depression and W.W.II era influences on post-war housing in America.

Hollin Hills houses were a radical departure from anything that had been built before. They had glass walls. They were designed to blend into the trees. There were no fences. But who was ready to live in a glass house where you could view your neighbor in almost any posture? The houses attracted a pioneering spirit - men and women who usually embraced liberal politics, modernist architecture, and that saw the houses they lived in as an ideal. In the midst of the intense growth of the next 50 years, Hollin Hills would remain a small, self-proclaimed utopia.

Through the story of Hollin Hills, Cheap and Lofty will examine suburban communities in America from social, psychological and architectural points of view.

Architect Charles M. Goodman, Salesman George Brinklemeier, Developer Robert C. Davenport,
and Foreman C. R. McCauley, 1971

W. Eugene Smith
for the American Institute of Architects, 1957
© The Heirs of W. Eugene Smith