The Story of Sea Ranch

It began with four young architects sitting atop 100-foot cliffs that plunge into the Pacific. They dreamt of creating a new model for coastal development. That was in 1965. What happened next was monumental.

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Sea Ranch Focus
Photographer Michael Hanson

Environmental Focus

One of Halprin’s most lasting legacies here seemed crazy at the time. Common real estate practice then and to this day places a premium on coastal bluff homesites. But the landscape architect had a different idea of value: Instead of giving that prime location to a single homeowner, he left the bluffs open to all, thus making them a community amenity. And he went further―he also allowed only 50 percent of the land for private ownership; he designed roads to follow the land’s natural contours; and he emphasized bluff, meadow, hedgerow, and forest over ostentatious house placements.

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