Brighton Park Village at Nexton: The difference is design

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Sponsored by: NEXTON

To appreciate a piece of art, it helps to know a little about the artist. And food almost always tastes better when you’ve heard the chef describe how it was prepared. So before you visit Brighton Park in Summerville, here’s a glimpse of the thinking that has gone into Nexton’s first residential village.

“Design is how we care for people”

“Design is much more than how a home or a neighborhood looks,” says Ken Seeger, president of MWV Community Development and Land Management, which is creating Nexton. “It’s how everything works together to enrich everyday life. And great design shouldn’t be reserved for the lucky few. It’s simply how we care for people.”

Seeger and Nexton’s director of design, Joe Barnes, spent several years guiding a team of nationally renowned urban planners and architects in creating the plan for Nexton and Brighton Park
Village. They started with the list of values that they wanted the community to embody. These included healthy living, leading-edge technology, educational excellence and a wide variety of home choices. Then came the real work.

The Nexton team began gathering inspiration from places all over the country. They literally papered the walls of one entire conference room with photos and sketches. They explored concepts for unique parks and homes and other community features. A community center with huge windows overlooking an expansive lawn. A neighborhood swim club that feels more like a resort. A state-of-the-art elementary school. All of which led to …the model.

Neighborhood supermodel

Long before they broke ground on the real Brighton Park Village, the Nexton team created a100-square-foot model of Brighton Park Village. The model is so big it has its own room. Every structure is represented in strikingly detailed wooden forms. It’s impressive to say the least. But the model wasn’t built to spark the interest of prospective homebuyers. It was created as a design tool for Nexton’s development team.

“Details matter. And here’s where we make sure the details are working,” says design director Barnes, standing next to the model. He goes to one knee so that he can peer down a street at “ground level,” and he explains why many of the streets in Brighton Park are curved: “A thoughtfully crafted street creates a sense of drama. Even if you drive the same route every day, it’s gratifying to approach a curve where a beautiful home is framed by the street, then you go around the bend and get a new vista.”

Listening to Barnes and Seeger, you begin to realize that for them design is the way to create better moments. The moments of walking the kids to school or strolling down a trail. The moments you spend with neighbors on your front porch or at an outdoor concert. One moment leading to another, adding up to days filled with more ease and joy and healthy activity.

Authentic homes

As Barnes explains it, designing and building a community used to be an honest response to the environment and to the needs of everyday life. Lowcountry homes had big front porches so that people could catch a cool breeze on a warm day. Schools and shops were right in the neighborhood because there were no cars. Every feature
had a purpose. “That’s what we mean by authentic design,” says Barnes.

The homes of Brighton Park Village are not historical replications. They honor traditional Lowcountry architecture and yet are fully designed for life today. “Because the fact is, we don’t live the way people did a century ago,” says Barnes. “We want a lot more daylight in our homes. We want less formality and a greater sense of flow. And we may love classic architecture, but we also embrace technologies such as gigabit internet that open up so many possibilities for the future.”

“The bottom line is that we don’t do anything by rote,” says Seeger. “We try to make all of our design decisions fresh and intentional and inspired.”

Come out to Brighton Park Village and you can feel the inspiration firsthand.