WaterColor weaves a network of public spaces and trails into a new urban development adjacent to Seaside on the Florida panhandle. The master plan preserves the site’s natural beauty while making it accessible to the community, and establishes connections to the local context by evoking the region’s design and ecological heritage. NBW’s attention to natural systems led to an eight-year client relationship, including planning and design for all public spaces, streets, stormwater systems, and development codes.
Relationships between rare terrestrial and aquatic environments proved critical for all phases of the project, from the initial master plan through interior parks and perimeter preserves. The design team negotiated sensitive ecological edges by carefully inserting architectural, infrastructural and landscape programs that minimized disturbance while fully engaging ecological performance and public experience. Pedestrian paths and stormwater gardens create a network of public environments that demonstrate the aesthetic beauty of water conservation.
Local and regional cultural influences informed the design of all public spaces. At Cerulean Park, WaterColor’s central public space, a 340-foot long, four-foot wide canal celebrates the importance of water in this region. The canal recalls irrigation ditches and channels of the Florida agricultural landscape and tannic-black water creeks that flow into the nearby lake. The oval basin at the terminus of the canal references the limestone sinkholes found throughout the region. In the green along the canal, remnants of the original forest are preserved, circumscribed by oval rings.