EXPLO is thrilled to announce a new partnership with The Pinehills, one of the most celebrated examples of thoughtful new town planning and design in the United States — and the ideal site for architecture students to gain on-the-ground insights around the complexities of design, building, and development. At the helm of The Pinehills is managing partner Tony Green and partners Steve Karp, Douglass Karp, and Steve Fischman of New England Development.
This summer, EXPLO architecture students will travel to historic Plymouth, Massachusetts, to meet with Green and walk the land of The Pinehills as they prepare to complete (and compete in) a land planning and architectural challenge. Students will gain deeper understanding of the complexities of design, building, and development that challenge professionals in their daily work.
Views and Trees
EXPLO is a great opportunity to share that experience and impart my father’s vision — and maybe climb some trees — with the next generation of innovative planners, architects and builders.
“When I was a teenager, my father, a homebuilder, began inviting me to walk land with him. As we walked through the woods he would ask me, ‘where’s the house?’ We were in the middle of the woods — there were no houses!” Green recalls. “What he was really asking me, and what he really wanted me to think about was, ‘where should the house be?’ He was imparting vision, the possibility of a variety of different futures. Look for the best place to build in terms of preserving and incorporating nature for views and privacy. This method of planning works out well for both the natural surroundings and the humans living in that place.”
That vision and the industry-leading experience of New England Development carried The Pinehills from an idea to an established village with over 2,000 families, a new town center with a post office, grocery store, gas station, offices and retail, Mirbeau Inn & Spa, and 5 restaurants, as well as 2,200 acres of open space for natural preserve and recreation.
“At The Pinehills, we work hard to preserve the natural beauty of the land — two-thirds of which is saved as open space — while at the same time building homes that meet our customer’s dreams,” Green says. “We have spent a lot of time in the woods and climbing trees to see the view that a house will see. EXPLO is a great opportunity to share that experience and impart my father’s vision — and maybe climb some trees — with the next generation of innovative planners, architects and builders.”
It’s Important to be Tenacious
I think this kind of course really represents the future of education. It’s at the intersection of academia and industry. I want students to understand the real world challenges of acting on their dreams, their visions, and their creativity.
Initially it didn’t look like The Pinehills would ever be built.
“One of the things that struck me about Tony’s work is that the land for The Pinehills was initially zoned for large lot (3-acre) single family homes with no open space as opposed to the vision that has been realized. The Town of Plymouth and the State held more than 220 public meetings during permitting. That’s a lot of listening and literally going back to the drawing board time and time again,” says EXPLO Executive Director and President Moira Kelly.
“There is a tenacity that Tony and the New England Development team had to exercise that I want EXPLO students to understand. The Pinehills planning process combined a willingness to listen with an articulation of vision not often seen today. To realize your dreams, particularly when they are big, you are going to have to keep at it and not lose faith.”
The Future of Education
Green, who has lectured at MIT, Harvard, Tufts, and Duke, will be designing a land planning and architectural challenge for EXPLO students that will tie to a site at The Pinehills. After walking the site with Green as guide, students will return to campus to work on their designs and then build out models. After an internal program competition, the top two winners will pitch their visions to Green.
“I think this kind of course really represents the future of education,” Kelly says. “It’s at the intersection of academia and industry. I want students to understand the real world challenges of acting on their dreams, their visions, and their creativity.
“Tony had his dad to coach him — to push him to think. I’m incredibly grateful that Tony is such an enthusiastic partner who wants to share his wisdom with a group of young people. Our students will be learning from a master and I can’t wait to see the results.”