Some say architecture is the most influential form of art and yet the most overlooked because it shapes where we stand, where we look, and, to a surprising extent, how we feel. The Shops at Sea Pines Center was designed to embrace an interlude, an oasis, a pause in the pace of the rest of the day. It doesn’t have to be a long pause – in fact, it is clear the founders intended The Shops at Sea Pines Center to be a source of everyday necessities as well as a little luxury.

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

What the architecture succeeds in doing is to make that oasis feeling convenient. Our location could hardly be better, right in the middle of the “miracle mile” between Harbour Town and the Sea Pines Beach Club. Although the location is strong, the siting – 50 yards off the main route of Lighthouse Road in the shade of live oaks – has made us a little easy to overlook.

Now I Remember

As a result, even Sea Pines residents and experienced visitors can sometimes overlook us as they drive by. The architecture was intended to blend in when viewed from the outside. It is mainly in the plaza within the interior of The Shops that people feel the magic. And yet, when neighbors and guests do take that moment to drop in, they tell us, “Now I remember why I enjoy this place so much.”

There is a practical application for this fine feeling, too. With a gas station, a liquor store, a post office, and a bank originally included among the shops, the center clearly meant to make life easier and to free up more time to enjoy the rest of the magic of Sea Pines. The fact that the gas station has a distinguished array of wines and the best fried chicken around, that the bank vault has since been repurposed as a wine cellar, and the post office is next door to a most unusual and personal bookstore are just an indication of how special even the routine missions of life can be made.

To Gather and Connect

The welcoming nature of The Shops at Sea Pines Center prompts people to pause here any time and any way they want, whether on a mission or purely for enjoyment. Residents and visitors alike drop by just to hear what’s going on this week.

The palms and fountains and dappled sunlight of the plaza within might be the real payoff of our architecture. On a closer look, though, notice how even our forecourt parking area resembles a green glade, still enjoying the shade and atmosphere of tall pines, live oaks, and Spanish moss. This combination of nature and people connects us with the very spirit of the Hilton Head Island dream.

The three avenues of approach to our inner plaza each present a different proportion of open arms. And each one presents a different progression through the refreshments and offerings and services of the center.

In the plaza at last, we see an ever-changing oasis, a calm, palm-punctuated place that gradually changes colors as the sun makes its own progress overhead. No wonder those in the know, the Sea Pines regulars, count this as a touchstone, a place to reconnect. Although the art of architecture often does its work unnoticed, a lot of thought went into The Shops at Sea Pines Center and to preparing for your visit.