VOL. 128 | NO. 121 | Friday, June 21, 2013
Memphis Standout Profile
Propelling City Forward Bloodworth’s Design Goal
By Amos Maki
As he grew up in Memphis, Russell E. “Rusty” Bloodworth was fascinated by art, design and the use of space.
As a young boy his appetite for creation – through art and using household materials to build little communities – grew.
“Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil I’ve been sketching and drawing and doing watercolors,” Bloodworth said. “I was always drawing when I was little and I was always making places and doing things with space.”
Bloodworth’s canvas for the last 45 years has been Memphis.
As a member of Boyle Investment Co. since 1968, Bloodworth, 67, has been instrumental in creating premier neighborhoods and mixed-use communities.
“I’ve been able to do it for 45 years and loved every day of it,” said Bloodworth, executive vice president at Boyle. “It’s just astounding that I could be allowed to do something I love so much for so long with people I like and respect.”
“I decided at 11 I wanted to go into architecture,” he added. “During college I realized there were other people involved in the building process and they hired the architect and that inspired me to think about being a little more in control.”
The University of Virginia graduate was so enamored with place making that he participated in a Scandinavian fellowship on new community designs.
“Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil I’ve been sketching and drawing and doing watercolors. ... I was always making places and doing things with space.”
–Russell E. “Rusty” Bloodworth
A trip to Reston, Va., one of the nation’s most well-known planned communities that focused on density and mixed-use areas, fanned Bloodworth’s creative flame.
“I was just stunned with the thought of building complete communities,” Bloodworth said.
Bloodworth has always tried to propel Memphis design forward.
As a fellow for the Knight Foundation, the nonprofit that includes a community program, Bloodworth helped inspire a planning charrette for the Memphis Medical Center.
“It was a visioning plan for the medical center and a strategy for how the universities St. Jude (Children’s Research Hospital) and Le Bonheur (Children’s Hospital) could coexist in a more vibrant neighborhood,” Bloodworth said. “It was an unbelievable effort.”
Schilling Farms in Collierville is an example of the mixed-use community Bloodworth enjoys so much.
The 443-acre community features businesses, homes, apartments, churches, a school and YMCA. A family can live, work and play inside Schilling Farms.
“It’s really stimulating to work on mixed-use development,” Bloodworth said. “I think my favorite projects are the little neighborhoods. Inside the bigger places there are smaller places where families live and children are out on tricycles.”