Professor Vincent Scully taught a generation of architects. He inspired his students to research traditional patterns of streets and defined public spaces, and return city planning to a set of artistic principles and ideas. He is responsible for the genesis of urban design ideas that were incorporated in the planning of Seaside.
Scully, who passed away in November, was an early supporter of Seaside and influenced many who contributed their design, planning and architecture talents. Several were his students at Yale.
The principles embodied in Seaside's master plan led to the formation of the Congress for New Urbanism. Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the master planners of Seaside, were two of the six founders of the CNU, and they were students of Scully's at Yale University.
Given Scully's contribution to the inspiration of Seaside, which is recognized as the birth place of the New Urbanism movement, Seaside Town Founders Robert and Daryl Davis commissioned a portrait of Scully to be painted on the south wall of the western building along County Highway 30A in downtown Seaside.
The mural-sized painting was completed in February and dedicated during the Seaside Prize weekend festivities. Plater-Zyberk, dean emeritus of the University of Miami's School of Architecture, led the tribute.
"He inspired our interest in the culture of American building -- not just of public buildings and monuments -- but the culture of the American house and the American community -- the American vernacular," Plater-Zyberk said. "This combined respect for building history and public space empowered his students to address the everyday building of contemporary cities and suburbs. Thus Seaside's lineage: New Haven, Key West, Apalachicola -- dignified predecessors to emulate."
A major contributing architect at Seaside is Dhiru Thadani, who was involved in the commissioning.
Thadani met Scully in 1993 when Thadani was a visiting critic at the University of Miami. Scully attended a public lecture that Thadani gave on India.
"The organization of the talk and my delivery was not very good and I was extremely nervous," recalled Thadani. "After the lecture, Scully took me aside and complimented me on my knowledge of the subject. He even gave me tips on developing a storyline for future talks, and encouraged me to project my voice and engage with the audience."
Thadani met Scully several times over the years and in 2013 they met up in Coral Gables and where Scully generously agreed to write the forward for Thadani's new book, "Visions of Seaside."
"His thoroughness in research, his ability to convey historical ideas, his gentle spirit and willingness to share his knowledge have been influential to me," said Thadani.
Scully was one of Yale's most recognized scholars, where he taught architectural history for more than 50 years, and for almost 20 years at the University of Miami. He was known as the most dramatic, impassioned and erudite teacher at the university. He was revered for being able to explain the innate relationship between architecture, urbanism, and the environment. He inspired future architects thereby planting seeds that grew into the New Urbanism movement. Many of these included other prominent architects who built in Seaside.
The Scully mural will be in place indefinitely.