CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 6/30/2014
Ranked number four on Amazon's Architecture Best Seller list and number one in both Architectural History and Regional Architecture, Metropolis Books' Cape Cod Modern is featured this month in both Conde Nast Traveler and Elle Decor.
"More than just a paean to an architectural style, Cape Cod Modern (Metropolis Books) illuminates a rich, under-examined moment—from 1938-1977—when the towns of the Outer Cape drew a hyper-creative crowd of design-besotted artists and intellectuals, in addition to the traditional vacationing psychoanalysts who head there each August. Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and other members of their émigré Bauhaus tribe cavorted with bohemian Boston Brahmins, and just about everyone built themselves simple retreats that expressed the organic cross-pollination of vernacular building traditions, Yankee economy, and Bauhaus rigor. Serge Chermayeff's lyrical, bow tie-trussed studio floats on posts reminiscent of fishing piers. The interiors of Nathaniel Saltonstall's Kuhn House have coffered ceilings of unfinished beams. The book traces the flowering of a distinctly regional modernism marked not by flashy commissions but instead by deeply personal spaces meant for repose. As happens, tourists eventually discovered this paradise, arriving in droves. In 1961, Congress established the Cape Cod National Seashore to protect the areas extraordinary beauty, claiming much of the land on which these houses were sited. Leases expired, residents moved on, and the houses were left to the wind and dunes—though thanks to the Cape Cod Modern House Trust, some of the most stunning gems are now being preserved."
"In the 1930s, recent immigrant and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius fell in love with the Cape's lonely, rolling dunes and wind-beaten fishermen's cottages. In the summer of 1937, he rented a house on Planting Island, just west of Cape Cod, and invited friends—including designer Marcel Breuer—to stay for a month of swimming and long dinners. This house party of European creatives in a remote New England outpost led to a little-known chapter in the history of American architecture: over the years, many of Gropius's guests, some of them architects and designers, migrated to the Cape to build their own homes. Combining the traditional East Coast aesthetic with European modernism, they left behind a cluster of exceptional cottages hidden in the pine forest of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Almost 80 years later, Peter McMahon, founder of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust, and Christine Cipriani documented the scene that flourished around the houses for their evocative new book, Cape Cod Modern. And thanks to another McMahon project, visitors can realize their own modernist fantasies. The Trust has restored three of the homes to their mid-century glory (additional renovations are planned), even adding original Saarinen and Eames furniture to one, and all are available for rent from April through September."
Hbk, 8.75 x 10.25 in. / 272 pgs / 130 color / 200 b&w.