A aerial view of the beachfront development of Seaside, Fla.

A aerial view of the beachfront development of Seaside, Fla.

Credit: Alex S. MacLean/Landslides


Two urban planning honorees in the 1984 P/A Awards heralded a return to historical development patterns. The Battery Park City plan applied a traditional layout to a large, high-density extension of Manhattan. At a much smaller scale, the plan for Seaside, Fla., by Andrés Duany, FAIA, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, FAIA, envisioned a second-home community with about 350 dwellings on an 80-acre beachfront parcel. Both projects were built almost entirely as proposed.

Seaside's master plan was intended to evoke the character of an old Southern town. It called for a network of walkable streets, with mid-block footpaths to serve outbuildings such as rental cottages. Detailed guidelines governed virtually every building—houses, for instance, had to have front porches and picket fences, which were subject, like all architectural features, to design review.

Low-slung houses along Tupelo Street. The one in the foreground, which has been dubbed 'The Panhandle' was designed by Deborah Berke, FAIA.

Low-slung houses along Tupelo Street. The one in the foreground, which has been dubbed 'The Panhandle' was designed by Deborah Berke, FAIA.

Credit: Courtesy Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.

 

The goal of these guidelines was not imitation, but creative adaptation. Then-emerging architects such as Deborah Berke, FAIA, were tapped by developer Robert Davis to design updated versions of vernacular bungalows. Houses by Léon Krier and Robert A.M. Stern Architects displayed elegant Classical Revival features. Steven Holl Architects and Machado and Silvetti Associates each designed thoroughly modern commercial structures that fit Seaside's scale and relaxed atmosphere.

Some dismissed Seaside as an urban planning prototype because it was primarily a vacation community, yet it has served as a model for numerous year-round community plans, and Duany and Plater-Zyberk have continued to learn from Seaside, applying the same planning principles elsewhere as leaders of the New Urbanism movement.

1984 P/A Awards Jury
John Cable
Sam Davis, FAIA
Jonathan King
J. Michael Kirkland
James Stewart Polshek, FAIA
Roger Schluntz, FAIA
Julia Thomas
Oswald Mathias Ungers

Updated illustrative plan of Seaside, Fla.

Updated illustrative plan of Seaside, Fla.

Credit: Courtesy Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.

 

Seaside's nondenominational interfaith chapel was designed by Merrill, Pastor & Colgan Architects, which has offices in Vero Beach, Fla., and Atlanta.

Seaside's nondenominational interfaith chapel was designed by Merrill, Pastor & Colgan Architects, which has offices in Vero Beach, Fla., and Atlanta.

Credit: Courtesy Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.

 

A view of the tower houses of Seaside, Fla.

A view of the tower houses of Seaside, Fla.

Credit: Courtesy Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.

 

Street view showing public plazas, as well as the porch and tower vocabulary than can be found trhoughout the development.

Street view showing public plazas, as well as the porch and tower vocabulary that can be found throughout the development.

Credit: Courtesy Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.