Web site content, "Blue Poche Project,"  "Silver Artichoke Workshop" copyright: Nelson Scott Smith | Artichoke Design Company
At The Sea Ranch
I have followed the planning and development of The Sea Ranch since its inception in the early 1960s. I first visited The Sea Ranch in 1974, and designed and built a house and guest house/studio in 2000-2002. Then, after 25 years as a design partner with Sasaki Associates in Boston and San Francisco, I founded Artichoke Design Company and moved my practice to The Sea Ranch.  

​I remained actively engaged in project work until early 2020, when colleges and universities, my clients, closed due to Covid. With my design practice virtually halted, I filled much time with long walks through The Sea Ranch landscape, began the design for a small house, and completed several essays for upcoming publications. I started documenting the walks with pen and ink drawings, my impressions of the landscape. Soon, they were on exhibit at a local gallery. 

​At The Sea Ranch, I chair the Commons Landscape Committee. The Committee is chartered to
convey an understanding of The Sea Ranch cultural landscape and to prepare comprehensive landscape management plans for the Commons. The Commons, are undeveloped lands owned jointly by all Sea Ranchers. They represent more than half the land area of the forests and grasslands at The Sea Ranch. Over the course of five years, we prepared ten plans containing almost 450 recommendations for managing The Sea Ranch Commons. During those years, we lead 30-daylong workshops. Some 600 Sea Ranchers participated. 

​​In 2017 The Sea Ranch Association received the “Excellence in Stewardship Award” from The Cultural Landscape Foundation to recognize the "promotion" and "sound stewardship of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin’s built legacy" at the Sea Ranch. The award noted, “A centerpiece of these efforts is the Commons Landscape Committee (CLC), whose members work in concert with other groups. Of note is The Sea Ranch Landscape – Summary of Commons Landscape Planning and Management 2010-2016, a concise treatise for managing the natural and cultural systems of TSR."

​With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent, I launched the Committee's Fifty Forward initiative for climate action and community resiliency. Fifty Forward is a platform to engage Sea Ranch membership to understand the known and possible effects of climate change and to adapt to changing conditions. A long-term effort is to foster the development of resiliency plans and stewardship programs for the neighborhoods throughout The Sea Ranch.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Photo: Misho Bruk​

Pomona College

Blue Poche Project
​University of California, Santa Barbara
Photo: Tim Hursley

Artichoke Design Company is my platform for advancing models for climate action design, the stewardship of natural resources, and resiliency. Travel, living in the heart of great cities and the influence of climate, context, and culture shaped my beliefs as an architect, planner, and teacher. ​​Listening, attention, and human and environmental sensibilities inspire my work and design approach. Clarity and function inform my definition of beauty.

National and international awards publications, and speaking engagements attest to leadership, design excellence, and memorable and sustainable projects.

My work is throughout the United States. Internationally, projects have taken me to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Mexico, and Egypt. ​​​​Clients include public and private organizations, colleges and universities, and individuals. ​​Projects often involve working with complex environmental settings and multiple constituencies. 

​For twenty-five years, I was a partner with Sasaki Associates. Before joining Sasaki, I worked with other nationally known architects and with an international firm in Rome. 

My studio is at The Sea Ranch, California. ​​

Blue Poche Project is a companion to my design practice.
It is artworks conceived to provoke awareness, curiosity, and further​ study about global warming and its effects. It is commentary for advancing planning and design ideas and solutions that promote new models for climate action and environmental and social justice. 

Design Excellence and Climate Action
Only with our leadership and perseverance will climate action design take its place in the daily processes and lexicon of design thinking and critical analysis, resting among the measures considered for design excellence  more

​Climate Action Planning and Design for Colleges and Universities
Colleges and universities are positioned as leading protagonists for consequential climate action initiatives  more
Silver Artichoke Workshop​​ grows out of my long-standing interests in illustrating concepts, ideas, and insights about environmental matters. Living in northern California inspired me to delineate the often unrecognized patterns and relationships in the landscape and to portray the landscape in all its layers and imaginable colors. The Land Lines Diptych portrays The Sea Ranch, a twelve-mile stretch of the California coastline.