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31 March . 2014

Meet the team: Design Director Joe Barnes

In a reoccurring blog series over the coming months we'll be meeting the design and development team behind Nexton. This month, we caught up with Joe Barnes, Nexton's Director of Design.

Tell us about your role at Nexton.

My primary role is to help bridge the gap between the design vision and the business plan. By incorporating good design and sustainability practices, I work with the design and development teams to create incremental and sustained value - social value, aesthetic value, and economic value.

How is Nexton different than other communities you've worked with?

I've found that very often communities look back at what's been done in the past and try to recreate it. At Nexton, we're learning from what's worked best in the past and combining it with what we have heard people express they are looking for in communities today. We're using the past as a stepping stone and pulling in what's appropriate for today to build a place that's comfortable and innovative.

Another thing that sets Nexton apart is that MWV (the developer) has such a strong legacy as a good corporate citizen and is known for doing the right things in the right way. With each step we are taking our time and bringing in the right people with the right expertise to implement the plan. It's been great to push the envelope and try some new and different things.

Lastly, because of where Nexton is located, we have this incredible opportunity to develop the commercial and residential areas at the same time. It's creating a fantastic job center that's close to and integrated with residential neighborhoods.

How would you describe Nexton's architectural style?

Rather than having a particular architectural style, I'd say the Nexton team has a particular approach to building and design. It's an approach that makes sense for this region and climate. You'll recognize the houses because they will look like houses of this region, but they'll incorporate modern materials and building techniques. It's analogous to what we're seeing at some restaurants - a fusion that takes indigenous ingredients and adds a twist of modernity to the presentation, details and refinement. The thoughtfulness that goes into everything at Nexton - from street design to house design to yard design - will really give the community a special feeling.

What about Nexton is most exciting to you?

What has always gotten me excited about this business is seeing people interact with and becoming part of the community we've created. When people move in and you see kids in the playgrounds, or parents strolling down the streets taking their kids to school - it's enormously rewarding.

Seeing a community you've had a hand in creating and asking yourself, "Does it improve people's lives? Does it provide a wonderful place to live and raise a family?" Having the confidence to answer "yes" to those questions is absolutely the most exciting thing about this business.