Jensen/Ptaszynski Architects have designed over a dozen houses at the Sea Ranch. Both Harley Jensen, AIA and Andre Ptaszynski, AIA studied under Charles Moore, one of the “fathers” of Sea Ranch architecture, so this work has been exceptionally rewarding, bringing us back to our architectural roots. As a design partner and now sole proprietor, Andre Ptaszynski has been the primary designer of all these houses.
The character of the houses at the Sea Ranch comes from the philosophy of its creators back in 1966. The original concept required that the houses be inspired by agricultural architecture, should harmonize with the natural environment and should encourage “living lightly on the land.” This is formalized in design regulations which are enforced by the Design Review Committee.
The committee can make very specific demands of designers and because this is a private development, their decisions cannot be appealed.
The oceanfront exposure of our houses has a major influence on their form. The powerful ocean winds demand that any outdoor living space be well-sheltered. Similarly the spectacular ocean views, which often face directly into the wind, orient the interiors. In some locations, the houses are adjacent to cypress windbreaks and the living spaces must be raised to the second floor to capture a horizon view.
Although the Sea Ranch was conceived as the first ecological housing development, many unintended consequences have developed over the years. The science of “green building” has evolved since the 1960s, so what was green then may not be today. While small houses have always been encouraged, the cost of property has risen as the Sea Ranch gained popularity and undeveloped lots became fewer. This means that recent arrivals are wealthier and older, with children and grandchildren, who want bigger houses for their families. The cabin by the sea is no longer enough.