Sea Ranch Condominium
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Architect MLTW
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Location Sea Ranch, California   map
Date 1964 to 1965   timeline
Building Type multifamily housing
 Construction System wood, timber frame
Climate mild, windy
Context rural
Style Bay Area Modern
Notes Moore Lyndon Turnbull Whitaker. Clustered shed roofed masses combine sense of Modern with local vernacular.


Exterior photo showing south facade and profile of building cluster

Exterior photo of building cluster against sky and sea, with construction work in foreground

Photo showing building cluster from in the distance




Lower Plan Drawing

Section Drawing

Site Plan Drawing

Upper Plan Drawing

Drawing, Site Plan  at ArchitectureWeek

Drawing, Building Plans  at ArchitectureWeek

Drawing, Site Elevation, showing buildings on slope  at ArchitectureWeek

Drawing, Site Section, showing timber framing patterns  at ArchitectureWeek

  Contributions appreciated

3D Model
3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

3D Spatial Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

Model Viewing Instructions
 Free 3D for the GBC
Discussion Sea Ranch Condominium Commentary

"The urge to surprise and be different, the urge to create at small scale monumental architectural recollections, and the urge to be a part of the planning of a larger environment— all these are present in Charles Moore's earlier work. And all these coalesce vividly in the famous Sea Ranch Condominium, whose completion marked the beginning of the first major phase of his career as an architect."

"The Californian, and the recollection it stirs is of old barns and country industrial structures—'mineshaft modern,' its critics called it."

— Gerald Allen. Charles Moore. New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1980. p.30.

"Confronted with designing the condominium complex of Sea Ranch on a spectacular Pacific Ocean site north of San Francisco, Moore Lyndon Turnbull Whitaker tightly grouped the units around a courtyard with traditional shed roofs an intersecting and towerlike wall planes, creating an overall commanding form but one of identifiably individual parts, at once casual and modest, open to views and sun yet sheltered and protected from the wind. It was a concept of cluster designed to preserve the openness of a rugged and beautiful site, the California wood tradition projected into a mid-sixties leaner sensibility and aesthetic, with a builder's type awareness of economy."

— from Paul Heyer. American Architecture: Ideas and Ideologies in the Late Twentieth Century. p106-107.

The Creator's Words

"We sought a partnership of buildings with this vast landscape which required more size and presence than most houses have, and more care in the arrangements than most people working somewhere else chose to give."

— Charles Moore, Gerald Allen, Donlyn Lyndon. The Place of Houses. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974. p47.

"At the Sea Ranch, houses merge into the forest with great success; in the meadows, however, houses need to set up partnerships with the land forms and with each other which turned out to be very difficult to achieve."

— Moore, Allen, Lyndon. The Place of Houses. p48.


American Institute of Architects 25 Year Award, 1991

Sources on Sea Ranch Condominium

"William Turnbull - Buildings in the Landscape", by Donylyn Lyndon, ArchitectureWeek No. 50, 2001.0516, pC2.1.

Akiko Busch. The Photography of Architecture: Twelve Views. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993. ISBN 0-442-01349-3. LC 86-5627. TR659.B87 1986. overview photo from the distance, p107. photo by Christopher Noll.

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. drawings and diagrams, p82-83. — Updated edition available at

Donald Corner and Jenny Young, University of Oregon. Slides from photographers' collection. PCD.2350.1012.1143.84, exterior photo of building cluster against sky and sea, with construction work in foreground. PCD.2350.1012.1143.85, exterior photo showing south facade and profile of building cluster. PCD.2350.1012.1143.05, photo showing building cluster from in the distance.

Paul Heyer. American Architecture: Ideas and Ideologies in the Late Twentieth Century. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993. ISBN 0-442-01328-0. LC 92-18415. NA2750.H48 1993. discussion, p106-107. exterior photo showing surrounding view, p107. exterior photo from ocean-side, p107.

Charles Moore, Gerald Allen, Donlyn Lyndon. The Place of Houses. University of California Press, 2000. ISBN 0520223578. Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Sea Ranch Condominium


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