Designing the Seaside
Architecture, Society and Nature
Distributed for Reaktion Books
Gray is interested not only in the physical structures but also the cultural mores they represent—the “yearly holiday,” and our attitudes about leisure. The coastal landscape has been transformed by this geography of relaxation, and Gray considers the physical and cultural shifts that occurred when shops, boardwalks, and hotels buried sand dunes and marshes beneath their beams. He examines the design processes that went into creating the diverse buildings and spaces within a seaside resort, giving full attention to ephemeral structures such as pavilions and summer gift shops as well as the trademark hotel buildings, fairgrounds, and open spaces. Designing the Seaside also reveals how events such as beauty pageants made seaside resorts into sites of debate over conflicted issues of sexuality and morality.
Drawing on a diverse array of historical material—photographs, guidebooks, postcards, and posters—Fred Gray offers a fascinating account of the cultural and social symbolism of the seaside resort and its role in the modern landscape.