Disney’s Florida Beach Resort
Vero Beach, Florida
This resort development draws upon the imagery and folklore of the Florida coastal resort towns that evolved in the years following the Civil War. Up and down the southern Atlantic coast, towns sprouted up around the lavish hotels founded by Henry Flagler, Henry Plant and other entrepreneurs as they pushed the train route further and further south to satisfy the desires of a growing leisure class for places to winter.
The project, located on seventy acres of land along Florida’s treasure coast, is conceived as a small town, a city in microcosm. The 150-room beachfront inn is the focal point and the gateway to the community, much as the old hotels served as gateways to southern Florida for travelers from the North. The design incorporates a rich variety of building scales, public activities, and circulation to create a living city.
The master plan is informal and pedestrian focused; automobiles are held to the perimeter streets. People move through gardens to meandering pedestrian promenades along the lake or the ocean. The formal grand scale of the inn, the cluster of three oceanfront buildings around a courtyard, and the smaller-scaled beach and lakeside housing reflect the natural evolution of the grand resort town.
The architectural vocabulary uses the Shingle Style and the Stick Style as expressions of informal living in the landscape. The building masses vary from the most simple, which sit on piers in the land, to the more fluid and complex, which grow organically out of the ground with roofscapes that read as landscapes.