Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Located just west of Rosemary Beach is the 3rd development planned by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, Alys Beach. Founded in 2003, the development is even larger than the previous projects at 158 acres which includes 20 acres of wetland preserve. Alys Beach has an important component the other projects do not. It is designed with sustainability in mind; in particular resistance to hurricanes and strong storms. White stucco over concrete walls, strong wind-resistant windows and sheltered outdoor living spaces are all major players in the architectural vocabulary.The architectural style is inspired by Bermuda and courtyard architecture. Alys beach is planned to be an upscale community and while far from finished, it really is impressive and feels LUXE.While many building sites remain, much of the infrastructure and amenities are in place.I loved this beach pavilion with the flowing curtains overlooking the gulf.I had a delicious latte at the Fontville Press coffee shop.As there are wetlands, a canal of sorts runs through the project, connecting even the further-most properties to the water. This bridge connects 2 sides of the development over the canal and has this charming tower. Along the canal are a number of really impressive houses.This house has a rare front porch. Unlike Seaside and Rosemary Beach, front porches are not a requirement and most houses instead have an interior courtyard.This house, south of 30A had an impressive front facade and a deep lot, containing a courtyard which was almost like a secret garden.A lot of construction is happening along the waterfront with interesting houses shaping up. I loved this house with the moorish arches and shapes. Many of the construction signs were from prestigious architects such as McAlpine Tankersley.This beautiful house was entered through a courtyard.These courtyard houses are a style I can get on board with as I've always been obsessed with secret gardens. I think residents are far more likely to use private outdoor spaces such as these as opposed to the front porches of Seaside.Again, water features are an important design element and you cannot get very far without hearing the tinkling of water.My favorite portion of the development is the center portion of townhouses (I'm a devoted urbanist!)Taking the planning from Rosemary Beach a step forward, the fronts of the houses face a common green with proper pedestrian walkways; these FEEL like the front entrance as opposed to the small boardwalks provided at Rosemary Beach at the 'front doors'.The white stucco is beautiful in the Florida sun and allows the different colored trim of each house to really stand out.This was another of my favorite houses, I loved the rooftop trellis which reminded me of ancient Roman dwellings.The alleys aren't unattractive either and have a beautiful cobblestone surface and planted trees (sad looking in winter without their leaves).Each development seems to improve as the design team alters the things that don't work from their previous schemes and I applaud the learning process. Yes, as you can tell, even though far from complete, I think Alys Beach is shaping up to be the best new urbanist town in Florida yet.