Beach homes are typically designed with the main floor raised off the ground -- to allow waves or floodwater to pass under the house. In some areas this building method is called "break-away construction" and is mandated by local codes. Beach house floor plans typically incorporate wide wraparound porches or spacious sun decks to bring living spaces outside and to take advantage of the waterfront setting's views and breezes. The Beach home style is an architectural interpretation of summer and warm weather living. Beach home plans are adaptable for use as vacation homes near water or to bring the feeling of a waterfront lifestyle elsewhere. Beach home plans are also called Coastal or Waterfront home plans and range in style from traditional to modern. Seaside, Florida, planned by Duany Plater-Zyberk Architects, contains an especially diverse and innovative collection of shoreline homes.
In many areas beach-oriented communities evolved their own distinctive character; for example, Manhattan Beach near Los Angeles, laid out in 1897 with very narrow tightly packed lots; The Sea Ranch, (http://www.tsra.org/
), the architecturally influential community on California's north coast emphasizing contemporary house design with regional character from 1964; and the more recent Seaside, Florida, (http://www.seasidefl.com/
) which helped launch the "New Urbanism," that is, planned communities of pedestrian-oriented houses with generous porches and garages on rear alleys. Malibu, California which started to develop in 1929, is the most famous American beach community and contains many examples of modernism along with eclectic styles.