Home > Our Philosophy > Character Development, 08/27/06
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Character Development is a Community-Wide Endeavor

  Ensemble builder Jerry Pederson is set to perform this lovely Chris Hough composition on Arrington Court in Bagwell’s Broughton neighborhood

The word “character” serves us in lots of ways. There are fictional “characters” in novels and plays, and we say an eccentric person is “quite a character”. A symbol in written language is called a “character”, and character refers to the core values that guide a person’s behavior. No matter how it is used, the word “character” conveys distinction imparted by unique qualities or attributes.

When David Bagwell speaks of “neighborhood character”, he means the personality of a place. It is discernable in older neighborhoods around the country, like Belcaro and Bonnie Brae in Denver, Charlotte’s Myers Park, Shaker Heights in Cleveland, Birmingham’s Mountain Brook, and River Crest in Fort Worth.

The expression “arrested development” aptly describes subdivisions that fail to manifest elements of character that establish them as neighborhoods. In contrast, David Bagwell Company developments are imbued with character by picturesque settings, architecturally significant homes, and the people who have responded and put down roots there.

To create neighborhood character, Bagwell employs a trustworthy process explained metaphorically by the musical term “Ensemble”. Just as an enriching performance depends upon a conducive venue, a melodic score, and the harmonizing of well-trained musicians, an enriching neighborhood can be realized only by similar collaboration of talent. Without an architect’s composition that thoroughly explains each part and orchestration by an experienced and dedicated builder, home construction is like an impromptu jam session. Subcontractors improvise the parts they play to the tune of unrefined “talkitecture”.

Improvisational “talkitecture” is untrustworthy in homebuilding and neighborhood creation. It involves spontaneity and risk-taking, sometimes valuable in social relations, athletics, many business enterprises, even Jazz music. Yet it’s almost always detrimental to neighborhood character. “A doctor can bury his mistakes,” Frank Lloyd Wright said. “But architects can only advise their clients to plant vines.”

Ensemble’s wellspring of character comes from historic architectural styles. A disciplined pen is the tool of architects who reprise the pleasing design forms of the past, adapting them to modern clients’ programmatic preferences.

While Ensemble eschews improvisation, it welcomes fresh interpretation, as Chris Hough of 3rd Dimension Residences has provided Jerry Pederson’s Westgate Properties in Colleyville’s Broughton neighborhood. Hough is an Ensemble designer employed by Bagwell to develop a compelling streetscape for Arrington Court, where two of his classic designs have been built already. His English country style home with Arts and Crafts motif blends pleasantly with other traditional designs on this quiet street to create interest, charm, and rich character of place.

Charming homes are the mainstay of character in Bagwell’s neighborhoods, each one augmented by luxuriant landscaping. Bagwell says, “We found that if we plant trees, a neighborhood will grow.” His planners have also provided copious open space and shaped the land to afford engaging views. They have provided lakes, preserved streams, and embellished common areas with pavilions, fountains, a vine-covered pergola, even sculpture, stained glass, and a restored 250-year-old barn.

Homebuyers seeking such neighborhood character can click here to learn more about Ensemble performances in Colleyville, or call 817/540-5500.

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