Over a half-century ago, a visionary—perhaps even utopian—condominium development was built along ten miles of the rugged shores of the Northern California coastline. Sea Ranch, placed halfway between San Francisco and Eureka, was designed as an alternative to the suburban developments cropping up in virtually every other part of the country by working with the land rather than against it. For the designers entrusted with the site — the architects Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, William Turnbull Jr. and Richard Whitaker of MLTW, Joseph Esherick, George Homsey, Peter Dodge and Charles M. Davis of EHDD, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, and graphic designer Barbara Stauffacher Solomon — that meant constructing a master plan in dialogue with the topography and climate, using only locally sourced building materials, and encouraging its residents to ‘live lightly on the land.’
Last week, Sea Ranch announced that the Sea Ranch Lodge, a hotel sited on 53 acres of the development, has been revitalized and will reopen this fall in honor of the original ‘territorial partnership’ made decades ago. David Hillmer, the general contractor of the locally-based company Pioneer Contracting, assembled a collection of designers—including architectural design firm Mithun, landscape architecture design studio TERREMOTO, and interior design firm The Office of Charles de Lisle—to restore the historic 10,000-square-foot lodge while adding a number of public amenities that included a new dining room, solarium, general store, cafe, bar, and lounge.
“With the restoration and reopening of The Sea Ranch Lodge,” Kristina Jetton, general manager of The Sea Ranch Lodge, said in a press statement, “we are excited to honor the vision of the original developer and original group of architects including Al Boeke, Lawrence Halprin, and MLTW (Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, Whitaker, and William Turnbull) – stewardship and respect of the land, sustainability for The Sea Ranch and creating a gathering place for all Sea Ranchers. As we continue to fulfill their original masterplan, we will always design and host experiences here that live in harmony with the natural elements that make The Sea Ranch so special.”
Throughout the process, the goal was to simplify the original structure following 50 years of alterations to better focus the relationship between the lodge and its dramatic surroundings. Its interiors were rebuilt using new materials chosen to match the original’s simple quality and accentuated with low lighting and unimposing furniture. The revitalization also included the renovation of the nearby post office and the redevelopment of the 11-acre landscape that surrounds the lodge.
The lodge will officially reopen October 1. AN will have a more in-depth rundown of the renovation once the project is complete.