With it's rectangular shape and single gable roof, it is a simple, yet effective design intended to withstand the cold Northeastern winters as well as sand and surf. Â I was completely floored to learn that the Cape Cod area has a wide variety of modernist structures built generally between the late 1940's and mid 1960's. Â Turns out many famous architects built their own summer cottages here as well, for example Walter Gropius Â and Marcel Breuer designed homes for their families on Cape Cod.
Like many mid-century modern homes, these are in various states ofÂ deteriorationÂ and a group called the Cape Cod Modern House Trust is working to not only restore these houses, but collect information and document the history of the modern homes on the Cape,Â somethingÂ which has never been done.
The underlying reason for some of this deterioration is an unusual one: Many of these homes have been sitting vacant, owned by the National Seashore. This is not due to lack of interested buyers, but from a governmentÂ acquisitionÂ of the properties to create a state park on the Cape. Â This buy-out took place in 1961 but allowed the occupants an option to stay in the house for another 25 years and in some cases, longer. Due to a fortuitous twist of fate, the government did not have the money to raze the houses as wasÂ originallyÂ planned so they remain, a silent reminder of the modernist history of that area in the last 50 years. Â The goal of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust is to â€œRestore all seven of the Modernist houses owned by the National Seashore and reconfigure them into educational and cultural resources.â€
Click here for some amazing photography of these modern homes, linked to the Cubes on Dunes/DWR article referenced below.
Sources and more information:
- Cape Cod Modern House Trust website.
- Cape Cod Modernism: Nonprofit Opens its First Restored House, article. Â National Trust for Historic Preservation, April 19, 2010
- Cubes on Dunes: Exploring Modern Houses on Cape Cod , article. Design within Reach.
- That Old Cape Mod, article. Â Boston Globe. December 7, 2008