Arguably the most acclaimed landscape architect of the 20th century, the late Lawrence Halprin created the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the Keller Fountain Park in Portland, Oregon, which was called "possibly the most important urban space since the Renaissance" by New York Times critic Ada Louise Huxtable.
Halprin’s most famous and resonant design, however, may be the master plan for Sea Ranch, a residential community along the California coast about 100 miles north of San Francisco. In the ’60s, drawing from his early years spent on an Israeli kibbutz, he imagined an idyllic development for people to "inhabit this land and protect the awesome character without softening or altering it." Admirers of Sea Ranch will be interested to hear that Halprin’s own residence has been listed by his estate for $8,000,000.
The Halprin residence sits on 5.1 oceanfront acres. Originally built in 1966, the family home was a modest cabin designed by Charles Moore, and in 1979 there came along a detached studio—but in 2001, the house burned down. It was replaced two years later by the current building designed by Buzz Yudell, a longtime colleague of Moore’s. Nearly identical to the first home, the two-bed, two-bath, 2,123-square-foot residence makes use of even higher-quality materials.
Though Halprin’s own guidelines discourage houses from being built directly on the cliffs, his home cantilevers over the rugged slope. "Walking on the narrow oceanside balcony," writes Kenneth Helphand in his 2017 book Lawrence Halprin, "feels like being on the deck of a ship at sea…From his Sea Ranch cabin, Halprin could experience nature’s forces at their most powerful and primordial."
Broker and realtor Hanne Liisberg, who herself lives in the community, calls the Halprin residence "the most amazing five-acre oceanfront parcel I’ve seen at Sea Ranch or on the coast. Halprin had the opportunity to hike the entire length of what became Sea Ranch. He clearly picked the best."
With cedar siding and Douglas fir trim, the house is what Liisberg calls "Sea Ranch classic." Its rising and falling roof planes impart a sense of kinetics, and windows frame views from every room.
While the views are certainly impactful, says Liisberg, "it’s not one of these large, pretentious houses. The views are framed in various directions, and I think that creates the experiences as you walk through."
Inside, wooden wall paneling, exposed ceiling beams, and tile flooring envelop visitors in a cocoon of natural materials, reinforcing the indoor/outdoor feel that’s so quintessential to Sea Ranch.
34050 Hwy 1 in Sea Ranch, California is currently listed for $8,000,000 by Hanne Liisberg of Liisberg Company.
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