Part of a Southern California cultural initiative called Pacific Standard Time, “Carefree California: Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch House” examines the evolution of the ranch house from a practical regional form to a widespread style. The show also focuses on the influence that designer Cliff May had on popularizing the form. May is credited with creating the California minimalist ranch with his system-built houses that he designed, marketed, and sold in the postwar era. Eventually, May designed luxury versions of his ranch houses and throughout his career produced more than 1,000 custom homes.
The exhibition and its accompanying book use materials from May’s archives, along with resources from more than 20 other California architects, to investigate how the ranch house form and function fit California lifestyles through open interior spaces, profuse fenestration, and ample indoor-outdoor integration. Hundreds of original models, drawings, photographs, magazines, site plans, sales pamphlets, and film clips will be on display. “Carefree California: Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch House” continues through June 17 at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum.