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Seaside Chapel

Ruskin Square
1999–2001

Scott Merrill

Ruskin Square

Project Description

The site on which the Seaside Chapel now sits had been designated for a house of worship since the town’s plan was originally created by the firm DPZ in the 1980s. Nearly twenty years later, in 1999, ground was broken on the site and architect Scott Merrill of the Vero Beach firm Merrill, Pastor & Colgan was selected to design the chapel. Dedication of the worship space took place in October of 2001.

The building was intended as a non-denominational, or interfaith, worship space so Merrill opted to avoid iconic or architectural language traditionally associated with any one particular faith. Instead the building takes on a vernacular – although still exalted – appearance, utilizing the language of its particular region of the United States. A center aisle configuration in plan and board and batten construction reflect a Carpenter Gothic style. This feel is continued in the interior of the stays in that style with heart pine floors and white walls. A local artisan was recruited to construct the Chapel’s altar, also of heart pine, and inscribe it with the words of Psalms 98:1.

The Chapel is located prominently within the town of Seaside at the head of the town’s center, Ruskin Square; it serves as the terminus to the town’s primary axis. Several elements were used to accentuate the importance of this structure. Its steeply-pitched roof rises to fifty feet, giving it an impressive appearance from both the interior and the exterior and making it the tallest building in all of Seaside. The bell tower soars even higher, to a final height of sixty-eight feet. Its disposition makes it an obvious beacon for all believers, inviting people of all faiths to gather and worship together.

Project Specifications

Architect:
Scott Merrill
Building Name:
Seaside Chapel
Preferred Name:
Seaside Chapel, Seaside Interfaith Chapel
Address:
Ruskin Square
Code Type:
Type V – Special District
Building Type:
Civic
Start of Construction:
1999-09-04
End of Construction:
2001-10-20
Floors:
1

Architect

Scott Merrill

Scott Merrill

 

Scott Merrill opened his practice in Vero Beach, Florida in 1990 to work on the new Duany Plater-Zyberk master plan for the project of Windsor. Since then he has taken on two partners: George Pastor in 1997 and David Colgan in 1999. Pastor and Merrill operate out of the office in Vero Beach, while Colgan operates the satellite office in Atlanta, Georgia.

The firm works on projects of all scales and types in a variety of locations. Their portfolio includes churches, town halls, mixed-use buildings, row houses, apartments, university buildings, public gardens, club master plans, and many private residences in urban sites and historic districts throughout the eastern United States. The firm has done projects around the world: in New Zealand; St. Petersburg, Russia; Abu Dhabi, UAE; London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Saudi Arabia and throughout the Caribbean.

Scott Merrill received a national AIA (American Institute of Architects) award for his first Seaside project in 1990, and the firm has received a total of three national AIA awards, including one in urban design for their first group of buildings and gardens. The firm has also been recognized for its designs fourteen times by the Florida AIA. The recognition has been for a wide variety of building types.

Merrill has lectured throughout the country on the firm’s design work, which has been widely published in the United States and Europe. The firm received the Arthur Ross Award from the Institute for Classical Architecture in New York, in recognition of a body of work that has contributed to traditional American design.

Bibliography

  • O'Connell, Kim A. "Simple gifts: Merrill, Pastor & Colgan Architects." 
         Clem Labine's traditional building. 20(2007):8-11.

  • Russell, James S. "Seaside Interfaith Chapel, Seaside, Florida." 
         Architectural Record. 193 (2005): 252-254.

  • Seaside Institute. "A Seaside House of Worship Rises on Solid
         Foundation of Faith." 

  • "Merrill and Pastor Architects: Seaside Chapel, Seaside, Florida."
         Florida Caribbean Architect. (2003): 28-29.

Awards

  • 2004 , National American Institute of Architecture Honor Award

Archive Inventory

Location:
Seaside Archives, University of Notre Dame
Contents:
  • 5, Sections and Elevations
  • Views
  • Rendering
  • Exterior Views
  • Interior Views

Exterior Views

Interior Views

Rendering

Sections and Elevations

Views