Olav Hammarstrom
    Born in 1906 in Finland, Olav Hammarstom received degrees from the University of Technology, and the ‘Athenaeum’ in Helsinki. In 1940 he led Alvar Aalto’s firm while Aalto was working abroad. In 1945 Hammarstrom was in the difficult position of being one of the few Finnish architects to have survived the war and was put in charge of some very large projects including designing an entire mining town in the northern territory. Frustrated at having so much responsibility without the time or budget to permit interesting design he sought a chance to escape abroad.
    In 1948 he had an opportunity to join Aalto in Boston to supervise construction of Baker House dormitory at MIT. Soon after he married fellow Finn, Marianne Strengell, who led the textile design department at Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Strengell was one of the 20th century’s most influential textile designers, executing many commissions for the Ford Foundation, and the Saarinens.
   Throughout the next 20 years Hammarstom worked with Eero Saarinen, The Architects’ Collaborative (founded by Gropius), and had a private practice which produced more than forty houses and seven churches. He also worked with the United Nations in Japan, the Philippines and Jamaica after the war, adapting local, traditional bamboo technology to constructing Modern furniture of his own design.
   Hammarstom and Strengell probably first came to Wellfleet with the Saarinens, who summered here starting in the late 1930s. Hammarstrom built their house in 1952 followed by eight others which have been located, as well as St. James the Fisherman Chapel, an AIA award winner. They spent their later years in Wellfleet year-round.
Projects on the Outer Cape
Hammarstrom House, Wellfleet, 1952

Chapel of St. James the Fisherman, Wellfleet, 1957

Lilly Saarinen  House,  Wellfleet, 1960

Edwards House, Eastham  1960

Robert Levy House, Truro 1962  

Thayer Brooks House, South Orleans, 1962

Dorothy Hoist House,  Wellfleet, 1964

Robt. J Lifton House,  Wellfleet, 1964

Xavier Gonzales Studio,  Wellfleet, 1957

Chester W Nimitz House / Addition, Wellfleet, 1966-74

Gruenbaum Addition,  Orleans, 1967

Women’s Day Magazine House Type,  Santuit, MA  1967

F Taylor Ostrander House,  Wellfleet, 1967

Beatrice H. Thomas, Art Studio, Truro, 1967         

Harry Hollander Studio / Residence, Truro, 1969    

Harold Harris Studio / Residence, Truro, 1969-71   

Melman House, Wellfleet 1970

Dennis Must House,  Wellfleet, 1974

Charles Clapp House, Truro,  1974

Dr. James Spencer House,  Wellfleet, 1974        


Plan appeared in Interiors magazine

The Hammarstroms’ own house was built in two sections, one insulated and enclosed, containing the bedrooms and kitchen. The warm weather section, containing a summer dining and living areas, can be opened entirely to the elements by means of two large barn doors on tracks. Strengal wove all the textiles including rugs, upholstery and curtains.