Red Leaf Village Company has hired the region’s
best designers and engineers. But first, before describing
them, here is some background on those of us employed
at Red Leaf itself.
Elliott Pond In The News
Founder, Jim Hagey and a volunteer
|Jim Hagey, President
Jim has been in the development business for 21 years. In the course of his work – it
was in 1987 – he saw an article in Atlantic Monthly about a walkable community
called Seaside in the Florida panhandle. He decided then and there that if he
could gather the resources and find the right location, he would build a walkable
community himself. The word “walkable” in this context means that
it follows pre-1940s design principles – principles that give a higher
priority to the pedestrian than to the automobile. It would have large, elevated
front porches, alleys, narrow, tree-shaded streets, a town square and parks.
In 2000, in Ramona, California, he acquired the dream site that is now called
Elliott Pond. It is perfect because it is within a five-minute, safe walk of
schools and a shopping center. Plus, Ramona is a friendly town, a place Jim has
To learn which design strategies make a town great or terrible, Jim has visited
Europe and criss-crossed the United States. He has found the best examples of
good, new communities in South Carolina. Still, the best places to learn from
are simply the old parts of town, the parts built before 1940. He has also read
countless design and town-planning books, and books on environmental sustainability.
In addition, he has asked a lot of questions, especially of the residents of
|Jim graduated from Stanford University in
1975 where he majored in Political Science. He shortly
after entered the real estate business.
He says the best books on town-planning are Suburban Nation by
Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zybeck and Jeff Speck; A Pattern
Language by Christopher Alexander; Streets and Sidewalks,
People and Cars by Dan Burden; New Urbanism: A Comprehensive
Report & Best Practices Guide by Robert Steuteville and
Philip Langdon; and Designing Sustainable Communities by
Judy Corbett and Michael Corbett. He also recommends Green
Remodeling by David Johnston.
Krisztina Szathmary |
Krisztina Szathmary, Architect and
Krisztina has the enormous advantage of having attended
architecture school in Europe, where designing on a human
scale is standard. That’s why European
communities are so charming. The setbacks, street widths and building heights
are designed for the pedestrian. Even the distances are designed for pedestrians.
A safe, shaded, five-minute walk can get you to the most important destinations – shops,
schools, parks, friends’ homes.
Krisztina was born and educated in Hungary, where she graduated
from the Technical University of Budapest. Her degree does not
apply in the U.S., so she is not a licensed American architect.
Perhaps her U.S. title should be something like “Architectural
Designer”, but she is in fact one of the best architects in California.
As for the silent “z” in both her first and last names, Hungarians
have their own rules for that letter and make it hard for the rest of us.
Bania |Karina Bania, Designer
Jim first met Karina two weeks after she returned from a nine-month, sometimes
solitary tour of India. Her design work reflects her unconventional approach
to life. It is fun, interesting, but restrained, tasteful, practical and always
looks timeless. We want our communities to reflect those same qualities.
The Mexican tile-maker was about to throw away his tile because his cat had just
left paw prints across its still-soft surface. Karina deliberately chose that
tile for the kitchen counter of a resort condominium – just because of
the paw prints. She is also, as you probably can tell, an artist.
OUR CHIEF OUTSIDE CONSULTANTS
Michael Corbett, President; Town Planners,
We discovered Michael when we saw a 2-page Time Magazine article
about his environmentally groundbreaking development called Village Homes ("Back
to the Garden: A Suburban Dream", February 22, 1999).
Village Homes showcases intelligent planning in two respects - how to enable
residents to get around easily without a car and how to protect the environment.
Time Magazine named Michael one of its "Heroes
of the Planet" in 1999 for his environmentally responsible town planning.
President Jimmy Carter, in 1979, presented Michael with The President's Award
in recognition of his town planning.
He was mayor of Davis, California (1988 - 1990).
Michael is co-author of the highly regarded town-planning book, Designing
Sustainable Communities, published in 2000. He, along with Andres Duany and four other
visionaries, wrote the Ahwahnee Principles, which are the guidelines of New
Urban development. Michael is assisted by the highly talented designer, Sue
Geoff Graham (left) of Guild Quality
Jim Hagey & Chris
Anderson of Civitas Company
Geoff Graham, President; Guild Quality
Company, Atlanta, Georgia.
Geoff, along with his brother, Vince and his father,
Tom, created I'on Village in Mount Pleasant, South
Carolina (10 minutes north of Charleston). It is
the best community built in the United States in
the last 80 years -- walkable, fun and wondrously
charming. It even outdoes the first project they
did, Newpoint, in Beaufort, South Carolina, which
was awarded the Nation's Best Designed Community
by the American Institute of Architects. I was delighted
when Geoff, along with Chris Anderson (see below)
visited the Elliott Pond site to give us two intense
days of advice. Their coaching now continues by phone.
Immensely, immensely helpful. I'm amazed that prior
to their arrival, I thought I knew quite a bit. See www.ionvillage.com --
Anderson, Marketing Director; Civitas Company, Mount
Pleasant, South Carolina.
At Civitas, Chris played a central role in the development
of I'on Village. He is a jack-of-all-trades and gave
us expert advice on finance, design and marketing.
We were and are so impressed by I'on Village and its
founders that we hired three of its top architectural
firms. (We did this with the blessing of Geoff Graham,
Vince Graham and Chris Anderson.) To design a truly traditional,
front porch community, these three deliver the best architectural
know-how in the United States. Their work at I'on proves
it. They are:
Historical Concepts, Peachtree City, Georgia.
Founded in 1982 by Jim Strickland, this firm designs
not only great buildings, but creates small-town, elegant
streetscapes. See www.historicalconcepts.com
Moser Design Group, Beaufort, South Carolina.
Founded by Eric Moser. Eric was enthusiastically recommended
by multiple sources, including Sarah Susanka in her best
selling The Not So Big House . Among his specialties
are houses with wrap-around front porches, which obviously
will fit in perfectly in Elliott Pond. See www.moserdesigngroup.com
Bill Allison (left) of Allison Ramsey
Architects & Jim
Allison Ramsey Architects, Asheville,
North Carolina and Beaufort, South Carolina.
Founded in 1992 by Bill Allison, the firm specializes
in front porch houses of classic design. After
contributing designs to the nation's best walkable
communities, the firm has become a leading authority
in pedestrian-oriented town planning. See www.allisonramseyarchitect.com
Elliott Pond will showcase environmental sustainability.
Accordingly, we have hired the country's leading experts
in storm water, construction, solar. Among the experts
hired so far:
Tom Cahill (left) of Cahill Associates & Matt
Moore of URS Corporation |
Cahill Associates, West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Cahill Associates is a national leader in the
sustainable management of storm water. They are
designing Elliott Pond's streets and parking lots
with bioswales and with pervious pavement - so
that storm water will pass directly through to
the groundwater. Tom Cahill serves on the U.S.
Green Building Council 's Site Design committee.
David Johnston |David Johnston, President; What's Working,
David is perhaps the nation's foremost, hands-on authority of environmentally
responsible, single-family home design. He combines environmentalism, several
decades of construction experience and a fondness for the spirit of Buckminster
Fuller. The result is practicality, efficiency and tremendous creativity. David
is a frequent lecturer and is author of Green Building In A Black And White
Worldand of Green Remodeling. See www.whatsworking.com