The Cape Cod Modern
House Trust was incorporated in 2007 to promote the documentation and
preservation of significant examples of Modernist architecture on the
Restoration Projects / CCMHT Goals
Seven of the Outer Cape’s significant Modern houses
are owned by the Cape Cod National Sea Shore and were until recently, slated
for demolition. They are deteriorating due to a lack of funding for their
maintenance. Five of these seven are on the Massachusetts Historic Commission’s
list of historic places.
The Kugel / Gips House by Charles Zehnder
The Hatch Cottage by John Hall
The Tisza House by Olav Hammarstrom
The Weidlinger House by Paul Weidlinger
The Kuhn House by Saltonstall and Morton
In 2006, the National Park Service agreed to give CCMHT a long term lease for the first of these houses, with the intention of including the others as progress is made. Work began on the Kugel /Gips house in the summer of 2008. Although it had been vacant since 1997, the house was structurally sound and in fairly good condition. It required a new septic system, roof, furnace and decks, as well as some interior repairs. The town of Wellfleet provided $100,000 though the Communty Preservation Act toward the restoration. Other grants and donations allowed us to complete the restoration and open the house for artist/scholar residencies in spring 2009. We hope to begin restoration work on the Hatch and Weidlinger houses in 2012.
Goals, mid term
-Restore the Hatch and Weidlinger houses and open them for tours, events and artsist / scholar-in-residence program.
- Continue to collect and disseminate data from the CCMHT archive including: drawings, models, photographs and oral histories documenting modern architecture on the outer Cape.
- Collaborate with regional design schools and archives, encouraging and enabling further research.
- Provide a database for local owners of modern buildings who want to restore them.
Goals, long term
Restore all seven of the Modernist houses owned by the
National Seashore and reconfigure them into educational and cultural resources.
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.
In the summer of 2006, The Provincetown Art Association
and Museum hosted ’A
Chain of Events: Modernist Houses on the Outer Cape from Marcel
Breuer to Charles Jencks.’ The show was reviewed in The Boston
Globe and New York Times and received the first place award
for Best Architecture or Design Exhibition from the International Association
of Art Critics and Writers, New England Chapter, for 2006. All the models,
photographs, drawings and research material in the exhibit, as well as
all materials collected subsequently, are permanently archived at the museum
in their secure vault.
How You Can Help
We are seeking drawings, photographs and narratives pertaining to
these buildings. This material is fast disappearing. Our goal is to
digitize and archive as much of it as possible to allow for future scholarship
and publication. Loaned material will be reproduced and returned promptly.
If you can donate your time and/or experience in research, fundraising,
construction, event planning, publicity, graphic design or technical
support, it would be a great help.
Donations of art and furnishings connected to mid 20th century modernism
on the Outer Cape, however modest, would allow us to recreate environments
in the renovated houses that give context to the architecture. Receipt
for tax deductions is available based on appraised value. Tax deductible
donations are greatly appreciated.
Learn more about becoming a member and supporting the
Cape Cod Modern House Trust.
Cape Cod Modern House Trust
PO Box 1191
South Wellfleet MA 02663
Executive Director, Principal PM Design
President, Board Member, Principal of DAS Studio
Treasurer, Board Member
Secretary, Board Member
Partner, Chermayeff, Sollogub and Poole, Architects
K. Michael Hays
Professor of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design
and Adjunct Curator of Architecture at the Whitney Museum of American
Editorial Director, Metropolis Books
Artist, Wellfleet’s representative to the National Seashore’s
Citizen Advisory Board
For their assistance and support we would like to
The Cape Cod National Seashore:
George Price, Superintendant
Sue Moynihan, Chief, Interpretation and
Cultural Resources Management
Bill Burke, Cultural Resources Program Manager
Town of Wellfleet’s
Community Preservation Board
Sarah Korjeff, Cape Cod Commission
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Mary Daniels, Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard, Graduate
School of Design
The Cranbrook Academy Archive
Ati Gropis Johansen
The Tony Smith Estate
Design Within Reach/Fox Diehl Architect: Preservation Consultant
for the Kugel-Gips house.
Noa Hall and Ike Williams
Ben, Charles, Ann Marie and Tony Zehnder
Web site designer, Terry Gips
We would like to thank all the volunteers who have generously given
their time and support for the Kugel-Gips house project.