Turquoise Place resort is an architectural delight on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. By Regina Cole
Visitors to Alabama’s Gulf Coast head straight for Route 182 to drive along the chain of slender barrier islands that form the sheltering arms of Mobile Bay. Azure waters lap the sugar-white sands of endless beaches, while bayous, coves, lakes, and lagoons border the north side of the two-lane highway. Resorts, beachside cottages, shrimp shacks, and bathing suit emporiums abound in the time-honored traditions of sun- and sand-kissed communities everywhere. Rubberneckers come to a screeching halt when they approach a pair of 23- and 30-story turquoise glass towers—aptly named Turquoise Place—rising in undulating curves.
“People often stop in to inquire about the building and ask for a tour,” says Eva Faircloth of Spectrum Resorts, the company that operates this and several other area resorts. “Most neighboring complexes are boxy and angular, but…Turquoise Place flows, mimicking the waves in the Gulf of Mexico.”
“The developers wanted to call it Turquoise Place to pay homage to the beautiful colors of the water,” says Forrest Daniell, principal architect of the eponymous Daphne, Alabama-based-firm responsible for the striking design. “Turquoise is a notoriously difficult color to work with; we found guidance in a nautilus shell.”
Daniell describes how this beautiful seashell combines the assertive color with shades of beige, dark red, and silver. “During the day, the two towers are white concrete and turquoise glass,” Daniell continues. “Nighttime lighting reveals red and beige patterns, creating an organic, flowing presence.”
Highrises close to a road usually make for an unpleasant tunnel effect; Daniell mitigated that with three-story parking garages that softly curve like the main buildings. “Parking garages are not usually pleasant spaces, so we designed these in the shape of a doughnut, with a four-story waterfall in the center,” he explains. “[They are] not rectilinear; they have light and the sound of water.”
The curves of the two buildings promote stellar views. The water that makes the parking garages so appealing repeats in three outdoor pools, two indoor pools, a lazy river, and large hot tubs on each balcony. Swimming pools incorporate underwater speakers, and one features a Tiki bar. Furnishings in all units include monogrammed sinks, Wolf gas ranges, Sub-Zero refrigerators, 55-inch flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, and fully equipped outdoor kitchens.
Turquoise Place opened to an economic slump in 2009, but a resident describes how it lifted local spirits. “This is the crown jewel of Orange Beach.”