Meet The Ridge Development Team
RON MONAHAN, Developer and Owner
Ron has been in construction for nearly two decades and is on the leading edge of green-building. He has brought the concepts of conservation development land planning, maximum energy efficiency and environmentally healthy house construction to Aiken and is seeing it become a reality with new home construction at The Ridge. Ron got his first building permit for a barn in Aiken over 18 years ago. This he constructed with his own hands using timbers harvested from the very site of the barn. Ron still uses local materials as part of his effort to build in an environmentally conscious way. Today, Ron divides his time between Aiken, SC and Boulder, CO where he is currently working on SpringLeaf, a L.E.E.D. platinum net-zero energy planned urban development. (www.SpringLeafBoulder.com)
IRIS W. FREEMAN, Conservationist and Owner
Iris has lived in Aiken for over 40 years. She is a dedicated land conservationist who was instrumental in preserving the land between The Ridge and Solstice Meadow. This pristine woodland is now known as The Freeman Preserve, in honor of her and her husband, famed racehorse trainer W.C. “Mike” Freeman. Iris is actively involved on the board of The American Farmland Trust, and is a past president of the Aiken Land Conservancy. You may find Iris walking her Labrador retriever or riding her chestnut mare by the pond at The Freeman Preserve. Long time Aiken resident Iris Freeman is an animal lover and ardent land conservationist. Iris is past president of the Aiken Land Conservancy and is on the board of the American Farmland Trust. Iris comes from a family that is renowned for its dedication to conservation, including projects undertaken in both South Carolina, such as the Winthrop polo field in Aiken’s horse district, and in the family’s ancestral neighborhood of Essex County, Massachusetts. Iris had no plans to become a developer until threats to the Aiken countryside dictated otherwise. When land on Chukker Creek road on the Southside of Aiken neighboring her beloved Chime Bell Farm came on the market and looked destined for over-development, she took action and bought it. She worked with her nephew-in-law, Ron Monahan, to create a four part plan that would preserve the riparian area around the spring-fed pond, build a beautiful trail network, form a green-build community nearer the city and ensure that the county land was reserved for estate farms.
GEORGE WATT, Architect
As principal designer and founder of George Watt Architecture, George’s work is characterized by the synthesis of contemporary design and the historical vernacular, creating an architecture of today that is firmly rooted to place. Influenced by early experience as a designer/builder, along with a reverence for the craft of construction, his practice has evolved to include architectural design, urban infill design, site planning, and integration of alternative energy resources.
A leader in the innovation and application of sustainable design principles and strategies, George has been published locally and nationally for his design work including building integrated alternative energy design, sustainable land planning, and resource conservation in design. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Colorado School of Architecture and a LEED accredited professional.
Employing a co-creative design process, George’s practice is a collaborative of partnerships, each specifically tailored to the needs of the client and project. Working closely with each client, he strives to create buildings and spaces that are authentic and modern, environmentally responsible and artful, and most importantly - those that elevate the human spirit.