Seaside, Florida

DPZ was founded in 1980 by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to replace suburban sprawl with neighborhood-based planning. At the time, Duany and Plater-Zyberk were founding partners of the still vital firm, Arquitectonica, renowned for its playful condominium towers on the Miami coast (yes, that condo with the big hole in the middle that appeared in Miami Vice was a design of that firm). However, a serious concern began to grow within both young architects, who struggled with how the individual buildings they designed did not relate in any meaningful way to the cities surrounding them. This concern soon evolved into the team finding ways to design environments in which the placement of individual buildings made sense in an urban context and held less importance than the spaces between them.

After establishing their new firm, they began developing what would become the guiding principles of smart, sustainable development with the landmark project of Seaside in the Florida Panhandle. This now famous resort “village by the sea” on Florida’s Gulf Coast won worldwide praise as the first traditionally organized new town designed in over 50 years.

Shortly thereafter, Duany and Plater-Zyberk co-founded the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), a non-profit organization established with the goal of transforming the built environment from ad-hoc suburban sprawl towards human-scale neighborhood development. The CNU has been recognized by the New York Times as “the most important collective architectural movement in the United States in the past fifty years”. The term New Urbanism was a conscious invention to bring attention to the crisis of ad hoc suburban development, and to propose a less wasteful alternative to sprawl.

The universal principles of the New Urbanism movement promote the creation of real communities with pedestrian-oriented, transit-ready neighborhoods. These neighborhoods encourage mixed uses, and allow the landscape to shape their streets. The movement, initially called “neo-traditional” planning, has grown to broad application and acceptance. Its principles project a sustainable quality of life that competes with the conventional suburban dream.



DPZ was founded as an architectural practice. Our early building designs served speculative real estate development on isolated suburban sites. Each project was a design effort to overcome the shortcomings of its context, and each added to our understanding of the zoning and land use regulations, engineering standards, market biases, and financial structure that form the modern city.


Early projects such as Hibiscus House metaphorically referred to the desired but missing urbanism with massing that appeared to be an aggregation of multiple buildings. The houses of Charleston Place emphasized shaping the public space of streets and parks. Seaside translated an analysis of American small towns into a design guide for many architects to produce a place of character and harmony.


Architecture informs our urban designs, and our master plans are accompanied by building plans that illustrate viable development types. Regional climate, geography, construction methods, historical precedents and market needs produce a local vernacular. Building typology and tradition provide a framework that invites the participation of many designers in making a place.


Architecture continues to be an important part of DPZ’s portfolio, including award-winning residential, commercial, institutional and civic buildings. The firm has produced innovative affordable and post-disaster housing, including Cabanons for post-earthquake Haiti. A prototype Katrina Cottage was constructed during a post-hurricane master planning charrette in St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans. And a patented courtyard scheme for affordable housing has been completed recently in the Florida Keys.





Thank you for visiting my website. My name is Mark Smith and I reside in Stevensville, Michigan my wife and two children. I have been interested in Architecture since my boyhood days; however, because of my families business—a lumberyard—I never really got a chance to pursue my dream until later in my career. Read more...


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