Spotlight: Florida Haus

Ty Nunn’s relationship with Seaside began before his career as a practicing architect. As a student at Auburn University in the late 1980s, Nunn was geographically close to Seaside during its earliest days. He was able to visit some of its most iconic structures, both under construction and newly completed. As a fourth year undergraduate, his interest in Seaside extended to the academic level; he traveled there to undertake an urban study of the new town.
In 1991, Nunn graduated from Auburn University with his Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture. The following year he moved to Seaside to work for Richard Gibbs, who was the Town Architect of Seaside at the time. He worked for Gibbs for a number of years before eventually beginning his own firm, florida haus, in 2001. He continued working on residential projects throughout Florida, and in May of 2009 he became Seaside’s tenth Town Architect, a role he still fills today.
As someone who has been actively watching Seaside for nearly twenty- five years, Nunn presents a unique perspective on Seaside’s past, present and future. As a student, Nunn says that Seaside was “all about the potential. There was enough there to see what the potential really was, and now, at least residentially, it is almost fully developed.” Today he looks back on Seaside and sees its evolution, starting from a very simple vernacular and evolving over time into very detailed and sophisticated homes with a still- growing town center. In the future, Nunn sees many of the structures built as temporary solutions many years ago gradually being replaced with permanent buildings.
Not only has the physical structure of the town evolved, but its demographic has as well. Seaside has a vocal, ensconced body of homeowners as well as a flourishing commercial town center. While some may see these two entities as being at odds with one another, Nunn feels that they are both integral to what makes Seaside such a unique place. He expects that even as it continues to develop and evolve Seaside will always remain a holiday town. However, as the geographic and emotional center of County Road 30-A, the energy that radiates through Seaside is, at least in part, due to the vibrancy of the public realm in its main plazas. This energy is an important part of its appeal to homeowners, guests, and tourists alike.
Over the past two years as Town Architect, Nunn has had the opportunity to oversee several projects in Seaside. One of his greatest honors during this time was working with Léon Krier to execute his plaza in Seaside. Currently, florida haus is also working on several renovations in Seaside, a by-product of the recent trend in Seaside of purchasing original cottages and renovating to bring them up to date or to tailor them to the individual needs of the new owners. His work in the vernacular of the Florida panhandle and its surrounding regions has also led him to work throughout the Southeast, including a new residence in New Orleans that he is currently designing in a vernacular New Orleans style.