Seaside Pavilions are Unique Gateways to Beach Bliss
June 1, 2020 by Ellie Avery
If you’ve ever driven down Scenic 30A through Seaside, then chances are you've seen one or more of the Seaside pavilions on the Gulf.
They are beautiful and enticing. They may be the most photographed architecture in South Walton, and they are also quite significant to SoWal’s history and architectural story. The nine pavilions help make our community stand out from other beach destinations, and each structure is unique in appearance and designed by a different architect.
Seaside town founder Robert Davis was at the forefront of “new urbanism” - a style which became the blueprint for many of South Walton’s communities that followed. The pavilions were carefully designed and constructed, and were an integral part of the formation of our world-famous beach town. Most anchor each of the main streets leading to the beach and stand as beautiful and practical gateways, with the dual purpose of protecting the dune system.
Davis desired to create a true residential plan where people could live simply, communing outdoors and connecting to the beach. The pavilions were planned to be open gateways to the beach - gathering spots to take in the view and chat with other folks. The goals were achieved and the pavilions have become distinctive landmarks that represent Seaside in grand fashion.
Each pavilion features its own unique design and reflects the individual vision of the architect commissioned to produce it. From Roger Ferri’s play on “stick” architecture with the Odessa Pavilion to Tony Atkin’s rotunda-styled Pensacola Pavilion topped with a pelican weather vane, the Seaside pavilions are as much a part of Scenic 30A as the pastel homes and sugar-white sands.
West Ruskin Pavilion – Michael McDonough
Pensacola Pavilion – Tony Atkin
Odessa Pavilion – Roger Ferri
Natchez Pavilion – Jersey Devils
Tupelo Pavilion – Ernesto Buch
Savanah Pavilion – Thomas Crist
East Ruskin Pavilion – S. Cohen and A. Nereim
Coleman Pavilion – David Coleman
Wedding Pavilion - Eric Watson
Each street has an association which owns the respective pavilion (the wedding pavilion and Coleman pavilion are not at the end of a street and are owned by the Seaside Development Corporation).