Sea Ranch

Sea Ranch

Jan. 7, 2011


Architect and planner Al Boeke envisioned a community that would preserve the area's natural beauty. In 1963, Oceanic California Inc., a division of Castle and Cooke Inc., purchased the land and assembled a design team. Principal designers included American architects Charles Moore, Joseph Esherick, William Turnbull, Jr. and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.

The project met opposition that led to notable changes in California law. Opponents felt more coastal access was necessary. The site, containing 10 miles of shore, had been available to the public but would be reserved for private use under the developer's plan. Areas below high tide were and would remain public property, but the plan provided no access through the development.

Californians Organized to Acquire Access to State Tidelands (COAST) was formed in response to this issue, and their 1968 county ballot initiative attempted to require the development to include public trails to the tidelands. While the initiative did not pass, the California legislature's Dunlap Act did pass that year and required that new coastal development dedicate trails granting public access to the ocean.

Design
Sea Ranch is noted for its distinctive architecture, which consists of simple timber-frame structures clad in wooden siding or shingles. The building typology of the Sea Ranch draws on the local agricultural buildings for inspiration. Originally, the Sea Ranch had local lumber mills to draw on for the Douglas Fir and Redwood used in the homes. The buildings could be considered as a hybrid of modern and vernacular architecture, also known as the "Third Bay Tradition" also referred to as "Sea Ranch" style.

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