NatureWalk Welcome Center
Seagrove Beach, Florida
Respect for nature is the overriding theme guiding every detail of this award-winning sales center building.
This "welcome center" for an environmentally-conscious planned community emerges from the majestic state forest that surrounds it and serves as a symbol of and gateway to the community itself. A mullioned glass stair tower rises on the north side and plays a civic role in marking the entry to the development and the coastal area to the south. Reflected in its surrounding pond, this building embodies the spirit of the development - in harmony with its inspiring natural environment and respectful of its position as the hallmark of this innovative ecological development.
The architecture of the center is evocative of the vernacular Florida "cracker" style, characterized by metal roofs with large overhangs, wood siding, gracious porches, and double-hung windows. The nature theme is evident in everything from the custom-designed site lighting to the use of wood construction materials. These design motifs, together with a high level of interior finishes, convey a sense of relaxed elegance important to the target market. Extensive use of reclaimed lumber, re-engineered wood, and other low-VOC materials throughout the building sets the tone for the "green" community it serves. Only native plants are used for the landscaping, and the water upon which the building sits is actually a retention pond, necessitated by an entry site constricted by neighboring wetlands.
As the first building to greet visitors, the Welcome Center allows them to immediately experience the lifestyle setting and imagine the possibilities of their own home within this innovative community. The building captures the serenity and warmth of this coastal enclave. High ceilings with clerestory windows provide natural light, while the warm color palette evokes the allure of the surrounding water, marsh and woodlands elements. Artwork illustrating the native landscape was commissioned from well-renowned local artists and custom lighting accents stairways, artwork and seating areas. Outdoor living spaces, including a wide front porch and several screened porches, add greater harmony with nature.
The firm designed offices for the sales/development team and a design studio showcasing the floor plan and elevation options to highlight solutions for prospective residents. In addition, the Welcome Center hosts a variety of community events and features a large catering kitchen with mosaic glass tile and natural countertops. A free-form leaf motif accentuates the balcony railings and doors and a soaring tabby stucco fireplace provides an intimate gathering spot.
Honor Award for New Work
AIA Florida Northwest, 2010
Grand Aurora Award for Commercial Project
Southeast Building Conference, 2007
Excellence in Construction Eagle Award
Associated Builders and Contractors, North Florida Chapter, 2007
Southeast Construction Magazine, 2007
Award of Merit
"Patterns for Placemaking" Development Guidelines
American Society of Landscape Architects, 2006