Home > Our Philosophy > Places Of The Heart, 11/13/05
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More Than Just Building Sites, Neighborhoods Offer Places of the Heart

  This Custom Design Home in the secluded north end of Whittier Heights makes a congenial gesture to the street, one of the “qualities without a name” in timeless homebuilding.

This is the second in a series of articles explaining the underlying distinction of David Bagwell Company Neighborhoods.

In his landmark PBS series and subsequent book, British historian Kenneth Clarke wrote, "Civilization depends on man extending his powers of mind and spirit to the utmost. But, civilization means something more than energy and will and creative power…(it means) a sense of permanence."

Colleyville developer David Bagwell says this perspective informs his company's daily work. "Much of homebuilding and residential development today is aesthetically impoverished," he says, "but it need not be. Expertise is available to direct us in a better way, one that leads to a civilizing sense of permanence. This is especially important in a 'throw away' culture like our own.

"At our company, we believe our first consideration should be how to create value. We do this for the aesthetically sensitive segment of the homebuying market by giving our neighborhoods a timeless aspect. For this, we have looked beyond our own sensibilities for insight.

"In The Timeless Way of Building, architect, builder and UC-Berkeley professor Christopher Alexander speaks of a 'quality without a name' that belies the notion that there is no objective distinction between good or bad buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. This 'quality without a name' has vitality, wholeness, and health that permits people to truly live. He believes that, since we all know the feeling that this intangible quality creates within us, we recognize it in homes, neighborhoods, gardens, etc. Because neighborhoods that have this 'quality without a name' invite the same quality to come to life in us, Professor Alexander says we should seek it in our surroundings in order that we may ourselves be alive."

Bagwell continues, "Some years ago, I gave voice to my recognition that our development work lacked this elusive 'quality without a name'. A friend referred me to Texas A&M and M.I.T. trained architect and city planner Robin McCaffrey, who has served this 'quality without a name' throughout his career."

McCaffrey's distinctions are many. He authored the historic preservation ordinance of the City of Dallas and applied it in writing the Swiss Avenue Preservation Ordinance. He also conceived designating the area now called the "West End" in Dallas and wrote the historic preservation ordinance for it.

As Head of Downtown Planning for the City of San Antonio, McCaffrey led the extension of the fledgling first phase of the world famous River Walk, developing it into the economic engine for the community that it is today. Later, as Chief Architect of the Caruth Homeplace, Briarwood, and Tealwood communities in Dallas, and Westbriar Towne Estates in Fort Worth, he designed homes and neighborhoods of enduring character, appeal and value.

An international lecturer on architecture and community planning, his planning practice today includes municipal clients throughout the Southwest and Mexico. In his practice of architecture, he designs primary and second homes, churches, and unique community facilities, including "The Oldest Building in Tarrant County" now on the drawing board for Bagwell's Whittier Heights development.

McCaffrey even lends his expertise to the betterment of Colleyville as a member of architectural control committees in Bagwell's neighborhoods.

"Robin holds high the torch of stylistic light to illumine the way toward what Alexander calls the 'quality without a name'", Bagwell says. "His collaboration with local designers, builders and their clients has woven permanence into the very fabric of this community."

Luxury homebuyers in search of this quality are invited to the Colleyville developments of the David Bagwell Company. For information, contact Susan Folkert or go on line to www.bagwellcompany.com

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