Seaside: The Recurrence of the American Front Porch


Only in current times has the cultural significance of the front porch been realized. This project is clearly a project of such forces, which romanticize a culture and a time in the American experience which the front porch symbolizes. As another result of such forces, the front porch has briefly and minorly reappeared in American architecture.

The best example of the reappearance of the American front porch and its implications may be seen in the town of Seaside, Florida. Seaside, a planned community built in the 1980's, aimed to rebuild a town on the principles of "urban traditions" which would exist in a "garden-variety small town"(Seaside 48). In this goal, the designers and architects developed an extensive building code to create such an existence as imagined. In this code, buildings were required to have porches. Evidently, attempting to rebuild a town on romantic terms, the front porch was a key element, revealing again its cultural significance. In recent times, other developed communities have required and continue to emphasize the front porch.

Thus it may be seen that the front porch existed as and continues to exist as an important cultural object in America. Through an exploration of the evolution of the front porch, the evolution of American culture has been witnessed. This project has revealed the cultural ideals that made the front porch important, and the cultural changes that eliminated it. The future of the American front porch remains uncertain, yet in a time when American values are being reevaluated and attempts are being made to rework them, the front porch as an important and existing cultural object may resuface again.