Lovers of good home design or design in general, this Sea Ranch exhibition has your name written all over it.
The Sea Ranch community, located on a 10-mile stretch of coast in Sonoma County, was a striking, yet not entirely successful, response to the urban sprawl that sparked shortly after World War II. Conceived in 1964 by Bay Area architects and designers, Al Boeke, Charles Moore, Joseph Esherick, William Turnbull, Lawrence Halprin, and Barbara Stauffacher Solomon.
Elegant, timeless, and in today’s modern Instagram world—it’s gram worthy. “In mid-20th-century California, modern architecture represented social progress,” notes Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, curator of architecture and design at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. “The Sea Ranch was envisioned as a place to embrace the land, a particularly moody and memorable land, that could expand California’s existing indoor-outdoor lifestyle beyond cloudless skies and manicured golf courses.” Distinctive architecture, uninhibited ocean views, bold supergraphics, shared open space, and meditative tranquility—these were the beginnings of The Sea Ranch, a beacon of Modernism on the Northern California coast. The development was envisioned as a progressive, inclusive community, guided by the idealistic principles of good design, economy of space, and harmony with the natural environment.
Though often described as a utopia, nestled in the hills of the ocean coast—no ranch has been able to recreate the lineage’s elegance. Tomorrow, SFMOMA will open an exhibit diving into the background and the appeal of the coastal community. Visitors will get the chance to walk through a replica of Charles Moore’s unit 9 from Condominium 1, pore over a photographic mural, Solomon used cost-effective paint and Helvetica type to create a look that was copied the world over. No small feat in the male-dominated architecture field.
// December 22 to April 28 at SFMOMA, 151 Third Street, SoMa, sfmoma.org; Photography courtesy of SFMoMa.
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