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It's All Part of the Plan
The 158 acres of Alys Beach are nestled along the Emerald Coast of Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, and comprise the third generation new urbanist town in the panhandle master planned by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ). The town's dominant architectural language finds its roots and inspiration in the style of Bermuda architecture and its typology in the courtyards of Antigua, Guatemala. The Bermuda style is characterized by uncomplicated, whitewashed volumes of masonry and stucco, versatile and sculptural in its massing and restrained in its use of ornamentation. This early design decision by DPZ had great appeal and, together with the use of one color and material, white stuccoed masonry helps unify the architecture into a simple, harmonious and coherent streetscape.
Three residential house types are being developed: courtyard houses, villas and compounds. The courtyard house is the predominant type. Built to the edges of its lot, it is organized around a private, central courtyard, with attached outdoor galleries, loggias, fountains and pools. The villa is freestanding on its lot with yards all around; and the compound, also detached, is composed of multiple, smaller, pavilion buildings joined together by loggias, porches and continuous perimeter garden walls.
Another opportunity we have been afforded is that Alys Beach has been the client for all the houses so far. This means we have commissioned designs and have reviewed and critiqued them as both the owner and the town architects. This has given us the advantage of exerting greater control and leverage with the architects we work with in helping shape and mold not only their individual designs, but those of the streets as a whole. The disadvantage is that we have to provide programming for all the houses and make sure that all plans are buildable, as any problems that arise on site are ours to resolve.