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VOL. 128 | NO. 121 | Friday, June 21, 2013

Propelling City Forward Bloodworth’s Design Goal

By Amos Maki

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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.”

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