The Seaside Institute’s Academic Village Closes Out an Era


The Seaside Institute’s Academic Village Closes Out an Era


Katrina Cottages to be Repurposed as the Site is Redeveloped

On May 30, 2020, The Seaside Institute™ oversaw the removal of the Academic Village cottages located at the Seaside Institute which has provided a place for students of all ages to learn, study, collaborate and reflect for over seven years.

The Seaside Institute’s Academic Village was completed in August 2013. This long-desired addition to the Lyceum area in Seaside was a concept that was discussed by Seaside’s founders, Robert and Daryl Davis, since the early 1980s. The purpose of the village was to provide much-needed affordable housing for students, faculty and professionals who travel to Seaside to study or to participate in the town’s civic and cultural events. Located right in the middle of the Seaside community, the Academic Village provided the community with access to a wide variety of people who could share their talents and teach and inspire others.

“I will miss the Katrina Cottages,” stated Robert Davis, co-founder of Seaside. The period before their arrival in Seaside was fraught with conflict and confusion. A few people created a campaign that convinced quite a few more that Seaside would be ruined by a trailer camp. When they finally were placed around a courtyard forming the Academic Village, artfully designed by Dhiru Thadani, many of those who vociferously opposed the project told me how pleased they were by the Village and how happy they were that we did not bring trailers to Seaside,” added Davis.

The village included seven repurposed Katrina cottages, two large boardwalks and a 3,000-square-foot courtyard. The cottages were positioned with all buildings facing the large courtyard, allowing guests to enjoy a collegial living environment where discussions continued after classes were officially over. The Academic Village became a reality in 2013 through the generosity of the Dorney Family, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the Geier Family, the Montague Family, Frank Starkey and the Stice Family.

“The Academic Village was a splendid place for receptions and served well as housing for people coming to Seaside for symposia and seminars,” stated Davis.

On December 31, 2018, when the collective sponsorships of the Academic Village cottages expired, the Seaside Institute entered into an agreement to sell the seven cottages to a private group of investors, who intend to repurpose them. “Now, at last, they will become affordable housing for people who work in our area but cannot afford to live here,” stated Davis. “They are moving a few miles away and will have yet another life after serving as post disaster emergency housing after Hurricane Katrina (humane and elegant substitutes for FEMA trailers) and as student housing in Seaside. Buon viaggio; buona fortuna!!,” concluded Davis.

As is the case with other buildings within Seaside and embracing the Institute’s innovative mission, Seaside Community Development Corporation, will continue the historic practice of fostering successional development.