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Tom Christ

Tom Christ

Architect’s Biography

Tom Christ did his first work in an architectural firm before he even began his architectural education, working in a local office as a draftsman during high school summers. He received his formal education from Florida A&M, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, and returning immediately to work in various areas of Miami. It was during this early period in his career that he went to work for Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk when they were first starting their firm, DPZ. His time at DPZ was also his introduction to Seaside; he worked on the final stages of land planning for the town and on some of the prototypical houses also worked on by the “Night Crew.”

It was during his time working with DPZ that Christ met Robert Davis. In 1984 Davis asked Christ to come to Seaside to serve as Town Architect for a year. So Christ and his wife moved to the beach, planning to stay only a year, not knowing that they would end up staying for another thirty years. While serving as Town Architect, Christ received numerous commissions very quickly, including several of the early houses on Tupelo Street and Ruskin Street, along with the Savannah Street Beach Pavilion. He also worked on some of the buildings in the work area, including a tower on axis with Tupelo Street, called “Poet’s Tower.”

Although his year-long tenure was very busy, Christ considers his greatest accomplishment as Town Architect his time spent working with some of the excellent architects at Seaside at that time, particularly Andrés Duany. They all shared many of what he feels were the greatest challenges of working in Seaside so early in its existence: designing houses using a new type of code, while also defining a specific southern vernacular style and striving to keep clients content. Christ observes that although there were plenty of examples of the northern Florida style in the area—both good and bad—many architects of the early years sought to develop their own styles and interpretations of the vernacular. This endeavor led them to push the envelope and test how far the design code could go. He believes that although the perception was that architects should not stray too far from the intent of the code, both Robert Davis and Andrés Duany encouraged and even desired pushing the boundaries of the code to see just what it could become. Although this was challenging for the many young architects working in Seaside, and did not always yield successful designs, it was an important aspect of early Seaside.

Thirty years later, Christ looks back fondly on the very early days of Seaside. It was a time when architects and contractors were all working together and having fun, experimenting constantly with everyone equally excited to try something new and different. Every day ended with volleyball on the beach. It was a good time for everyone, but as the town began to grow, likewise the responsibilities and the attitude of Seaside shifted to become more work-focused. Christ also found it fascinating to watch the town grow over the last thirty years: from a small town with simple little cottages to a larger town of more complex structures. The whole attitude of the town has changed, and he has found it interesting to see how exposure to different influences can affect the growth of a place over time. In Seaside those influences were mostly economical, and Christ points out a visual division in the town from the eastern-most portions, the oldest part of Seaside, to the newer western half of the town. As land values rose, the clients began pushing for “bigger, better, taller” then they had before. This phenomenon was widespread in Seaside and changed the look and feel of the town, which started so small, to something bigger but, in his opinion, not as special. Even so, it still remains a beautiful and unique place.

Today, Tom Christ is partner and owner of his own firm, Christ & Associates, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. His firm primarily does custom residential work, as well as commercial projects, interior design, and landscaping. Christ is still active in Seaside as well, having done eighty-five private residences there to date. Their work has been showcased in many books and magazines and has been featured on the HGTV cable network.
 

Architect Details

Preferred Name:
Tom Christ
Known As:
Thomas Christ
  • A Gift From The Sea

    Building Name:
    A Gift From The Sea
    Preferred Name:
    A Gift From The Sea
    Address:
    126 Seaside Avenue
    Code Type:
    Type IV – Residential and Lodging
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • As You Like It

    Building Name:
    As You Like It
    Preferred Name:
    As You Like It
    Address:
    536 Forest Street
    Code Type:
    Type VII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Auberge

    Building Name:
    Auberge
    Preferred Name:
    Auberge
    Address:
    462 Forest
    Code Type:
    Type VII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • By The Sea

    Building Name:
    By The Sea
    Preferred Name:
    By The Sea
    Address:
    79 Tupelo St
  • Caribbean

    Building Name:
    Caribbean
    Preferred Name:
    Caribbean
    Address:
    23 Odessa
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Crystal Blue Persuasion

    Building Name:
    Crystal Blue Persuasion
    Preferred Name:
    Crystal Blue Persuasion
    Address:
    53 Pensacola
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Curphey Cottage

    Building Name:
    Curphey Cottage
    Preferred Name:
    Curphey Cottage
    Address:
    54 Natchez
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Fish Lips

    Building Name:
    Fish Lips
    Preferred Name:
    Fish Lips
    Address:
    177 East Ruskin
    Code Type:
    Type VII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Flamingo

    Building Name:
    Flamingo
    Preferred Name:
    Flamingo
    Address:
    61 Savannah
  • Good Abode

    Building Name:
    Good Abode
    Preferred Name:
    Good Abode
    Address:
    118 Tupelo
  • Gulfview

    Building Name:
    Gulfview
    Preferred Name:
    Gulfview
    Address:
    28 East Ruskin
  • Happily Ever After

    Building Name:
    Happily Ever After
    Preferred Name:
    Happily Ever After
    Address:
    33 Pensacola
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Her Wildlife Refuge

    Building Name:
    Her Wildlife Refuge
    Preferred Name:
    Her Wildlife Refuge
    Address:
    67 Seaside Avenue
    Code Type:
    Type IV – Residential and Lodging
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • James

    Building Name:
    James
    Preferred Name:
    James, Ed Big's Sandcastle
    Address:
    418 West Grove Ave.
  • Lemon Tree Resort

    Building Name:
    Lemon Tree Resort
    Preferred Name:
    Lemon Tree Resort
    Address:
    181 Smolian Circle
  • Made in the Shade

    Building Name:
    Made in the Shade
    Preferred Name:
    Made in the Shade
    Address:
    561 Forest
    Code Type:
    Type VII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Meant to Be

    Building Name:
    Meant to Be
    Preferred Name:
    Meant to Be
    Address:
    498 Forest
    Code Type:
    Type VII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Mellow Yellow

    Building Name:
    Mellow Yellow
    Preferred Name:
    Mellow Yellow
    Address:
    94 Savannah
  • Moore Fun

    Building Name:
    Moore Fun
    Preferred Name:
    Moore Fun
    Address:
    30 West Ruskin
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Morning in May

    Building Name:
    Morning in May
    Preferred Name:
    Morning in May
    Address:
    151 Smolian Circle
  • Nana's Sunshine

    Building Name:
    Nana's Sunshine
    Preferred Name:
    Nana's Sunshine
    Address:
    44 Natchez
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Our Place by the Sea

    Building Name:
    Our Place by the Sea
    Preferred Name:
    Our Place by the Sea
    Address:
    652 Forest St
  • Park Place

    Building Name:
    Park Place
    Preferred Name:
    Park Place
    Address:
    571 Forest
    Code Type:
    Type VII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Pitter Patter

    Building Name:
    Pitter Patter
    Preferred Name:
    Pitter Patter
    Address:
    61 East Ruskin
  • Saratoga

    Building Name:
    Saratoga
    Preferred Name:
    Saratoga
    Address:
    725 Forest
  • Savannah Sea Cabin

    Building Name:
    Savannah Sea Cabin
    Preferred Name:
    Savannah Sea Cabin
    Address:
    2408 County Road 30A
    Code Type:
    Type V – Special District
  • Savannah Street Beach Pavilion

    Building Name:
    Savannah Street Beach Pavilion
    Preferred Name:
    Savannah Street Beach Pavilion, Savannah Pavilion
  • Shell Seeker

    Building Name:
    Shell Seeker
    Preferred Name:
    Shell Seeker
    Address:
    80 Savannah
  • Son Worshippers

    Building Name:
    Son Worshippers
    Preferred Name:
    Son Worshippers
    Address:
    130 Savannah
  • Southern Exposure

    Building Name:
    Southern Exposure
    Preferred Name:
    Southern Exposure
    Address:
    2368 County Road 30-A
    Code Type:
    Type V – Special District
  • Sundaze

    Building Name:
    Sundaze
    Preferred Name:
    Sundaze
    Address:
    72 Pensacola Street
    Code Type:
    Type VII – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Take Five

    Building Name:
    Take Five
    Preferred Name:
    Take Five
    Address:
    39 West Ruskin
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Time Out

    Building Name:
    Time Out
    Preferred Name:
    Time Out
    Address:
    20 Savannah
  • Tucker's Tupelo Tower

    Building Name:
    Tucker's Tupelo Tower
    Preferred Name:
    Tucker's Tupelo Tower
    Address:
    93 Tupelo
  • Tuttaposto

    Building Name:
    Tuttaposto
    Preferred Name:
    Tuttaposto, All Is Good
    Address:
    876 Forest
  • Upper East Side

    Building Name:
    Upper East Side
    Preferred Name:
    Upper East Side
    Address:
    14 Tupelo
  • Villa Whimsey

    Building Name:
    Villa Whimsey
    Preferred Name:
    Villa Whimsey
    Address:
    119 Tupelo
  • When a Man Loves a Woman

    Building Name:
    When a Man Loves a Woman
    Preferred Name:
    When a Man Loves a Woman
    Address:
    26 Natchez Street
    Code Type:
    Type VI – Residential
    Building Type:
    Residential
  • Do Little

    Building Name:
    Do Little
    Preferred Name:
    Do Little
  • Limoncello

    Building Name:
    Limoncello
    Preferred Name:
    Limoncello, Wonderland
    Address:
    131 Tupelo