Cape Cod Modern Homes (1938-1978)

In the late 1930s, on the isolated ‘back shore’ of Wellfleet, a group of self-taught, architecture enthusiasts began building experimental structures based on the early Modern buildings they had seen in Europe. Through mutual friends they invited some of the founders of European Modernism to buy land, build summer homes and settle. Like their local hosts, the recently emigrated Europeans admired the traditional Cape Cod ‘salt boxes’. These ancient houses were simple, functional, owner-built and designed for long winters. The Modernist summer houses were inversions of these, oriented to capture views and breezes, perching lightly on the land.  In the three decades that followed, these architects built homes for themselves, their friends and the community of internationally influential artists, writers, and thinkers that took root nearby. Though humble in budget, materials and environmental impact, the Outer Cape’s Modern houses manage to be manifestos of their designers' philosophy and way of living, close to nature, immersed in art and seeking community. The work of these architects and their clients spread around the world. These houses are the physical remnants of this unique convergence.

(Source: Cape Cod Modern House Trust)


Cape Cod Modern Homes - Interview with Peter McMahon

Peter McMahon, architect and executive director of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust, talks about the legacy of a group of self-taught, architecture enthusiasts who began building experimental structures based on the early Modern buildings they had seen in Europe. Through mutual friends they invited some of the founders of European Modernism, like Marcel Breuer,  to buy land, build summer homes and settle in and around Wellfleet on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. ...more

Kugel/Gips House by Charlie Zehnder (1970)

The Kugel / Gips House reflects Charlie Zehnder’s fascination with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Its corners dematerialize through butt-glazed windows, horizontal planes are emphasized, and long cantilevered decks and roof overhangs project the living spaces out into the landscape. ...more

Hatch Cottage by Jack Hall (1960)

In 1960, self-taught architect, Jack Hall, designed a summer cottage overlooking Cape Cod Bay in Wellfleet, MA, for Robert Hatch, an editor of ...more

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