Project Category: Preservation & Conservation
Project Name: Colonial Quarter
Project Location: St. Augustine, Florida 32084
Date of Completion: March 2013
Architect: Jeremy Marquis, RLA, LEED AP BD+C, Marquis Halback, Inc.
Owner: Pat Croce & Company dba Colonial Quarter, LLC, Pat Croce, President, Cindy Stavely, Executive Director
Located in downtown St. Augustine across from the Castillo
de San Marcos National Monument, the Colonial
Quarter reinvents the way visitors learn of the diverse and layered
history of the Nation’s Oldest City. Within 2 acres of the historic core, 3 centuries of St. Augustine’s history is explored in 4 distinct, immersive quadrants.
Historically Significant Site +
Previously, the site was the "Colonial Spanish Quarter,” a
1960s living history museum originally built for the 400th Anniversary of St.
Augustine. Based on extensive archaeological research, historic reconstructions
of the First Spanish Period (1565-1763) and Second Spanish Period (1784-1821)
buildings were meticulously restored. However, the museum had ceased to be relevant in recent years. On the eve
of Florida’s 500th Anniversary and
the 450th Commemoration of St.
Augustine, the University of Florida and the City of St. Augustine
embarked to refresh the museum for a new generation.
A New Vision: Historic
Immersion in a Tourism District
Through a competitve bid process, the landscape architect
led the design team for Pat Croce in successfully capturing the imagination of
the University of Florida’s
distinguished panel of experts and academic leaders. This panel included
the likes of historian Michael Gannon, PhD; archaeologist Kathleen Deagan, PhD;
and noted historic preservation architect Herschel Shepard. Rather than telling
of one day in 1740, as the Colonial Spanish Quarter had done, the design seeks
to tell of the layers of history that
makes Florida unique.
The property is now divided into four chronological, immersive quadrants.
These quadrants explore (1) the founding
of St. Augustine in the 16th century, (2) the development of the town as
a fortified post in the 17th
century, (3) the Spanish garrison town in
the 18th century, and (4) the British
period in St. Augustine during the American Revolution. To complete the
loop and transition from the 18th century British back to the 16th century
Spanish period, the "Flags over St.
Augustine” boardwalk displays all 11 flags which have flown over the
In addition to the overall
master plan, the landscape architect designed period-specific landscapes, fencing, lighting, site furniture, and
interpretive signage for each
quadrant. Lighting and sign posts become more detailed and precise as the
centuries progress, reflective of advances in workmanship and tools. Landscapes
help to tell the role of both native
and introduced plant material for defensive, culinary, and medicinal uses.
In one quadrant, saw palmetto (Serenoa
repens) and soft-tipped yucca (Yucca
elephantipes) recreate the Rosario defensive line around the 17th
century watchtower. In another, Datil pepper (Capsicum sinense Jacques) and garlic (Allium sativum) celebrate the Menorcan people group, many of
whom have decendents in St. Augustine to this day.
Historic Preservation +
Site disturbance was kept to a
minimum through a variety of techniques, ranging from limiting container
sizes to 20cm in depth (approved by the State of Florida Division of Historical
Resources) to creating an above-ground "pale and stake” fence, which involved
spliting logs in half to hide above-ground supports tied with posts every 8’.
In the 16th century quadrant, located on National Park Service property, the
team overcame a restriction of zero
ground penetrations by building small berms for plant material, creating
above-ground boardwalks and platforms, and above-ground ADA walkways.
The landscape architect, a LEED AP, led the team’s sustainability
efforts. Even though the historic structures, complete with open windows, could
never meet all LEED criteria, the team
committed and implemented many sustainable guidelines. 100% recycled plastic Gravelpave mats are
installed throughout the property, filled with locally sourced coquina shell, to provide appropriate accessible
walks. Reclaimed wood from the
Colonial Spanish Quarter is reutilized. Locally
sourced cypress fencing from Gainesville creates the perimeter 7’ fencing,
which completely hides vehicles along A1A and focuses the view on the Castillo
de San Marcos in the distance.
Halback, FASLA, RLA, CLARB, Marquis
Thomas Architect, Inc.
Newman, RPA, Archaeological
Property Owner: Ed
Poppell, Vice President, Linda
Dixon, AICP, Director of Operations and Administration, University
of Florida Historic St. Augustine