SEABROOK – IN A CLASS BY ITSELF – THE NEW COASTAL TOWN OF SEABROOK, WA

Posted on September 14, 2010

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In the early 1900’s, Seabrook’s neighboring towns of Pacific Beach & Moclips were beach hot spots with masses of people traveling mostly by rail to this farthest west terminus.  After making Pacific Beach its home during World War II, the US Navy and Air Force intentionally took the area “off the map.” Today, with Seabrook re-introducing so many people to this beautiful area, history is indeed repeating itself.

Today, Seabrook’s newest neighborhood will stand high above the beach sand and ocean’s edge on Seabrook’s Northwest Bluffs. Here at the edge of town, a collection of uniquely designed oceanfront homes will gaze out to the horizon. The Northwest Glen nestles into the wind-chiseled trees tucked within a cove of ferns, salal, and salmonberry. A brook carved along the bluff’s base dissolves into the sand below.

The homes are designed to merge deeply with their surrounding environment. In Seabrook we design each street, each greenway, each park and plaza as an immersive experience in which the buildings, the landscape, and the pathways closely fit with each other. Walking through the town is like moving from one outdoor room to another, each evoking their unique sense of place.

The new oceanfront houses will likewise vary subtly from the more urban beach houses a few blocks away in the heart of town, although they will be close relatives. The vertically proportioned walls and tall windows in the town center help enclose and enliven the public spaces. At the ocean’s edge, low-sloped roofs, deep bracketed eaves, and wide picture windows will blend into the endless expanse of the horizon.

Walking from Seabrook’s future town center through the neighborhoods and down to the ocean, one will sense these changing places and environments. Taking a short stroll, they will move from an active, vibrant center out to nature within minutes. The oceanfront houses stand at that crucial edge between town and the surrounding Washington Coast nature.

Similarly, a range of natural environments are experienced walking from the ocean’s edge, over the hard glistening sand to the soft dunes, through the beach grasses, up the salal-covered slopes, through the windswept trees and finally into the town. That first edge of houses looking up from the beach framed by the trees is designed with great care to settle gently into this breathtaking landscape.

The Ocean Esplanade, a broad path all along the bluffs’ edges, surrounds the neighborhood. The homes gaze above the Esplanade out to sea. Benches crafted from trees on site are grouped at points along the Esplanade for resting, chatting with friends, and gazing out to sea. The homes face the Esplanade with their front doors, glassed-in porches and living rooms. The Esplanade encircles the neighborhood, flows into a future footbridge spanning the southern glen, and leads down beach stairs to the dunes below.

In addition, the back entrances come from the lanes where cars are neatly tucked away in carriage houses and port cocheres. Each Oceanside House presents two inviting fronts to both the Esplanade and the lane. The entry lanes take on even greater importance as community spaces. They have been carefully designed with three small plazas that widen out from the intimate lanes themselves. Four additional walking paths radiate out between the houses to the surrounding Esplanade.

The architecture of Seabrook’s Northwest Glen is inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement. Arts and Crafts began on the West Coast a century ago with remarkable examples ranging from Pasadena to Portland and Seattle. Francis Brown in Portland, Ellsworth Storey in Seattle, and Greene & Greene and Bernard Maybeck in California designed some of the finest Arts & Crafts houses a century ago. Contemporary versions can be found in the region in the work of Cutler Anderson. While close cousins to other styles such as Prairie or Craftsman Bungalow, the Arts and Crafts emphasizes deep eaves, low-sloped roofs, horizontal lines, exposed natural materials and warm earthy colors.

Contact Seabrook at (360) 276-0099) or visit their magnificent website at www.seabrookwa.com

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