Peter McMahon, founding director, Cape Cod Modern House Trust
Christine Cipriani, architecture and design writer

Starting in the 1930s, an international community of architects settled in Wellfleet and Truro, ranging from bohemian East Coast Brahmins to international stars such as Marcel Breuer. They used summer cottages as laboratories, places to work through ideas (and throw parties) without spending much money, and by the 1970s there were about 100 modern houses of interest in the woods and dunes.

These rigorous designs solved genuine problems, yet often feel as ephemeral as summer camps; built with prosaic local materials and set lightly on the fragile landscape, they exemplify what we now call green building. The result is a unique regional modernism that fuses the building traditions of Cape Cod fishing towns with Bauhaus ideals and postwar experimentation. In an illustrated lecture, the authors of Cape Cod Modern will trace what the New York Times called this “eye-opening history of an overlooked moment in modern architecture.”

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