Rosemary Beach’s traditional town Master Plan is the design of Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and their firm DPZ. DPZ created the initial Rosemary Beach Town Plan in 1995. The two had also created the Town Plan for Seaside, Florida in 1980, and later designed the town plan for Alys Beach. When given the opportunity to introduce another coastal project to the New Urbanism principals they were more than ready. The vision of Rosemary Beach was to incorporate the fundamentals offered by Seaside, but introduce new features that would make Rosemary Beach its own community.
To begin, cars were welcomed into Rosemary by adding an alley system and carriage house addition which provided living space, a rental opportunity and of course, hidden parking. The rear alley ways allowed the design of the homes to shift from a street front home to a front door perched at a boardwalk, pathway or facing one of the beautiful community lawn spaces.
The town’s unique beauty was expressed through the rich color palate of the homes, construction materials and masterful architectural details. There are twelve basic lot types which make up the overall regulating plan. The plan sets up the intended character of every street, boardwalk and public space. Each home is a unique design, created by a number of different architects to allow the plan to develop as an actual town, with varied outcomes directed by a strong set of design guidelines that create harmony without becoming homogeneous. The guidelines help the designs maintain their lofty ceiling, deep eaves, shingle and siding detail and stucco walls. Each of these construction elements has its own guidelines for application and installation.
Why such guidelines? The vision of the town planners and the values of the Property Owner Association is to sustain the Master Plan which is an intricate patchwork of different house types and an inextricable part of the fabric of the town reinforcing its coastal character.
The home designs offer guests and homeowner alike some of the most beautiful shapes and silhouettes in residential architecture. Rosemary Beach is based on the European colonial architecture of the Dutch West Indies, New Orleans and St. Augustine which features European building types that are updated for warm, tropical weather. The primary characteristic is the elevated masonry base which allows porches and outdoors spaces to catch cool ocean breezes. Details like shuttered windows and doorways, lofty, very high ceilings, steep roofs to shed rainwater and large porches that act as another living space in the home were added to the designs making the end result a set of very uniquely styled homes that elevate the costal aesthetic with familiar and natural materials.
The Town Hall, built in the 1990s, is the centerpiece of the Rosemary Beach architecture. With its white stucco walls, high ceilings, steep roof line and its Dutch West Indies parapet roof it’s a sight to remember. From the Town Hall, the community weaves outward into commercial and residential space, cobblestone streets and large lawn space. Each is enclosed in some way by a variety of residential homes and commercial spaces, all of which represent the original vision. Other details like maintaining a strong and varied color palate that represents the tones of the surrounding environment and selections of native plants can be seen in every space and on every structure.
The Rosemary Beach Owners Center is a later addition that anchors the North side of town. The unique architecture tips its hat to some of the town’s more contemporary structures. The entry tower is a recognizable symbol within town and while driving along Highway 98 to the North. The Owners Center provides activity space, a pool, and gathering areas for owners to casually meet and socialize. The façade of the building provides an outdoor performance space fronting on St Augustine Green, the town’s largest event space.
The planning team of DPZ and now the Rosemary Beach Property Owners Association and its owners, understand and appreciate the detail, planning and maintenance that is part of Rosemary Beach architecture. We hope you enjoy observing the details and charm that make Rosemary Beach so unique!