“OUR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
summer home represents notions of sustainability and biophilic design,”
says Erich Burkhart, a principal at Perkins Eastman, an architecture firm
that specializes in residential towers and large medical centers. “But it is
also a unique personal expression.”
It is certainly one of the newest and most individualistic designs at
Sea Ranch, the 1960s residential enclave that spreads over 10 miles of
oceanfront property in Sonoma County, two hours north of San Francisco.
The back-to-nature community has small, rugged, no-nonsense wood-clad buildings designed in a modern barn vernacular by late Bay Area
architects Charles Moore and Bill Turnbull of MLTW, as well as architect
Joseph Esherick and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, who created
the master plan.
If Sea Ranch’s strict regulations for building size and use of local materials seem restrictive for some, Burkhart and his husband, architect Doug
Hudson, who specializes in similar projects in their home base of Palm
Springs, welcomed them.
Yielding to Sea Ranch neighbors who did not want their ocean views
obstructed by a bar-shaped building on the bluff, the couple created one
that appears instead to be composed of three parallel copper- and cedar-clad shipping containers, set sufficiently apart to form view corridors; their
shed roofs of standing seam copper slope southward, toward the Pacific.
The west pavilion, containing the master suite and another bedroom,
and the central pavilion, which contains living spaces, are linked by a
covered see-through glass-walled bridge; the stand-alone east pavilion con-
Board-formed concrete fencing, just high
enough to sit on, surrounds the gravel car court.
The see-through glass bridge that connects the
two shipping container–like wings of the main
house is also the foyer. Large stepping-stones
lead to its front door across native landscaping.
A few select works of art, including a bronze
vase from Japonesque, join a midcentury
George Nelson bench.