IMMMERSION I SONOMA COAST 2011

The Sonoma Coast in Northern California is renown for its rugged, forbidding natural beauty. Here at the edge of the continent, you are constantly aware of your place in the world; straddling a thin line between land and sea.

As one approaches from the south, the deeply shadowed redwood forest opens up to reveal the wide pacific as the Russian River spills out in front of you. Moving north along hwy 1, the sea makes a precipitous drop as you climb on the razors edge of land until you find yourself moving along a narrow ledge several hundred feet above the crashing waves. Both ahead and behind you the rows of peninsulas and inlets fade into a seemingly unending pattern.

About an hour into the drive, the small community of The Sea Ranch has been established on a ten mile stretch of the coast between the Gualala River and the pacific. This will be our laboratory for the IMMERSION. The Sea Ranch, first envisioned by landscape architect Laurence Halprin, together with the firm MLTW and bay area regionalist architect Joseph Esherick, for the developer Cooke and Castle, has a historic place in architecture. Our endeavor, however, is not to replicate the ideas or responses of these founders. It is to investigate the landfirst-hand and let it inspire us to something new, but equally suited to this remote stretch of the Sonoma Coast.