Location: Cape Cod, MA
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 & 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.
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.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)
"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"
Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster
Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.
I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.