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Sea Ranch, California’s Modernist Utopia, Gets an Update

The New York Times, June 11, 2019


Demographic shifts. Climate change. The internet. "Sea Ranch is changing, like our society," said the architect Mary Griffin. "We simply can't build the way we did even 20 years ago."


SEA RANCH, Calif. — It was an era of now unimaginable optimism, when one believed that architecture and planning could save the world — or at least save the environment. In 1964, a group of architecture faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, some only in their 20s, were entrusted by developer Al Boeke with ten miles of magnificent California coastline three hours north of San Francisco.


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The de Young in the 21st Century: A Museum by Herzog & de Meuron Thames & Hudson 2005

A compelling case study in design and urban planning, documenting the complex five year process that resulted in a stunning contribution to contemporary museum architecture.

“A fine book about the museum and its design.” --Robert Campbell, Architectural Record

“First rate interviews with the architectural team and a well told saga of the project’s architectural evolution. Worthwhile for the smart way it uses the controversial remaking of the de Young Museum to explore the complicated cultural tensions of contemporary San Francisco.” --John King, The San Francisco Chronicle

Le Désert de Retz: A Late Eighteenth Century French Folly Garden, the Artful Landscape of Monsieur de Monville. With photographs by Michael Kenna MIT Press 1994

A history of this rediscovered masterpiece of French 18th century architecture and landscape art. With a facsimile of the Le Rouge portfolio and new photography by Michael Kenna

"Diana Ketcham's magnificently researched and beautifully accomplished text, with its accompanying images, is not a book for mere specialists. It is a book of interest to garden enthusiasts, to art historians, to surrealists—to anyone with a taste for fantasy, architectural metaphor, the poetry of vision, the aesthetics of stone and leaf."
Arthur C. Danto, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University

The Changing Garden: Four Centuries of European and American Art (contributor) University of California Press 2003

Diana Ketcham contributed the chapter on painter Hubert Robert’s role in creating Méréville, the last masterwork of the 18th century garden in France.

“A richly illustrated history of the garden as shaped and experienced by artists.” --Penelope Lively, New York Times Book Review

Selected Articles on Writers

Articles on Henry Roth, Tom Stoppard, M. F. K. Fisher, E. M. Forster, Jessica Mitford, Tom Wolfe, Thomas Jefferson, and others. See list of Articles.

Work Published at Arion Press

On the satire of competing garden styles in Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. 

On M. F. K. Fisher’s translation of the classic The Physiology of Taste by Brillat Savarin

On Victorian buildings in New York depicted by Edith Wharton in The Age of Innocence, photographed by Stephen Shore.

Introductory essay for The Nachman Stories by Leonard Michaels.