Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Cape Cod Modern Midcentury Architecture

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Ever heard of the The Cape Cod Modern House Trust?

Starting in the late 1930s, the Outer Cape attracted some of the prime movers of modern architecture, including architects Marcel Breuer, Serge Chermayeff and Olav Hammarstrom and engineer Paul Weidlinger, who built houses for themselves, their friends and clients. The more than 100 modern houses in the area represent a little-known cultural asset.

The Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) was founded to collect, archive, and share documentation of the Outer Cape’s exceptional modern architecture, restore a group of important, endangered modern houses, and to relaunch them as platforms for new creative work.

So what happened? Why were they all abandoned in the first place?

Legislation was introduced to create the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1959, and for the next two years, while it was debated, over one hundred houses were built within the park boundaries, including seven significant modern ones. When the legislation passed in 1961, freezing all new development, the homeowners were bought out and the new houses were slated for eventual demolition. The seven National Park Service (NPS)-owned modern houses fell into administrative limbo, where they have languished ever since, most of them empty and deteriorating.

Enjoy the few selected photos of some of the restored houses below. Amazing. All images by Raimund Koch 

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Hatch House, Wellfleet MA
Architect: Jack Hall

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

The Colony, Wellfleet MA
Architect: Nathaniel Saltonstall

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Hatch House, Wellfleet MA
Architect: Jack Hall

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Kepes House, Wellfleet MA
Architect: Marcel Breuer

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Breuer House, Wellfleet MA
Architect: Marcel Breuer

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Kugel-Gips House, Wellfleet MA
Architect: Charles Zehnder

Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Halprin House, Wellfleet MA
Architect: Hayden Walling

For more information on this project, visit the Cape Cod Modern House Trust website.

You can also check out the new book, Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape, by Peter McMahon and Christine Cipriani (Metropolis Books, Spring 2014), which tells the fascinating story of the cosmopolitan group of designers who settled in Wellfleet and Truro between the 1930s and 1970s, and their experimental architectural legacy in the woods and dunes.

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