SFMOMA’S “The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism” Exhibit + Unbeaten Path Tours’ On-Site Exploration
January 3, 2019
Photo courtesy of SFMOMA
Standing as Northern California’s coveted treasure, Sea Ranch, a planned housing community and experimental architectural feat, embodies a desirable modernism. Recognized for its unmatched environmental aesthetic and harmony with the surrounding natural landscape, San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is celebrating the iconic community with an exhibition of original drawings, sketches, photography, and a full-scale replica of one of the first living spaces built there.
“It has always been important to connect our agenda at SFMOMA to the history of the Bay Area and certain origin stories in Bay Area architecture,” says co-curator Joseph Becker.
The exhibition includes a life-size imitation of a Sea Ranch home: the sincerest form of flattery. Backdropped by a Iwan Baan photograph of the ocean, SFMOMA co-curators Becker and Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher intricately recreated a Sea Ranch home positioned along the Pacific coastline to give visitors a first-hand, immersive view into the community.
A plethora of archival images and drawings are on display throughout the exhibit from the College of Environmental Design’s Environmental Design Archives, specifically Joseph Esherick and MLTW’s archived works. Drawings by Esherick, for instance, document his initial analysis of the site and its grandeur.
“Not just in terms of flora and fauna, but kind of a historical perspective on what is the human impact on a site,” explains Becker. “That helps root us in kind of a sensitivity toward the environment that the human scale is so small compared to the geological scale, which created this incredible landscape.”
With help from Danelle Guthrie, an associate adjunct professor of architecture at CED who owns a home in Sea Ranch with her husband and Professor of Architecture Tom Buresh, the curators also connected with CED students to create models for the exhibition.
For any individual seeking to complete their museum visit within an in-person visit, Unbeaten Path Tours offers walking tours of the area to learn about the architecture, topography and wildlife.
Tour guide, Margaret Linden emphasizes the integrity of the building designs to the environment.
“I like to look at the original architecture of the region and introduce it that way. You see very simply from the barns that are iconic for the Northern California Coast,” she explains. “They had to last in this weather up here, which is pretty severe. They call it the Scottish coast of California, so these buildings had to respond to the conditions.”
“Halperin had this vision and understanding, which also represent the community, that Sea Ranch wasn’t just about individual home construction it was about living as a community—as a cooperative,” she says. “By not defining your property border you create the blank canvas. It’s the one constant; it is the baseline for the entire environment and space for that architecture to thrive.”
Take your chance to explore the Sea Ranch Exhibition on view at the SFMOMA until April 28, 2019. For more details regarding the exhibit, check out the full article https://coolhunting.com/culture/sfmoma-sea-ranch-unbeaten-path-tours/.