Homes of the Modern House Trust
Her Zehnder home in Wellfleet is made of concrete in the shape of a trapezoid. While Zehnder favored cedar early in his career, when that became too expensive he turned to concrete, she says. The house appears impenetrable from the street side, but the living spaces look over woods, and there’s a wraparound deck. Two of the three bedrooms and the bath, with a sunken tub, also have private decks. Of her partner, Hopkins says that while he is influenced by his father, his houses are a little more conventional to satisfy today’s customers.
The three homes the Cape Cod Modern House Trust has restored provide a good look at the range of designs the movement produced. Zehnder’s Kugel/Gips House shows Wright’s influence in butt-glazed corner windows (where glass meets glass) that maximize views of Northeast Pond, broad cantilevers, and deep overhanging eaves. The Weidlinger House, designed in 1953 by Paul Weidlinger, a Hungarian structural engineer known for innovative design alternatives, is built on stilts. The elevation not only provides a superior view of Higgins Pond but also helps dispel dampness and creates a sheltered parking space underneath.
The most radical of the three houses, the Hatch House, was designed by Jack Hall for Robert Hatch, a film critic (and later executive editor) at The Nation, and his wife, Ruth, a painter; it was completed in 1962. Perched on a sloping site with a stunning view across Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown, the house consists of three separate buildings connected by an expanse of deck. Each building has full-height shutters that open and close to control light and air flow. Inside, a long, built-in banquette with storage underneath provides front-row seating for the extraordinary view. The Hatch House is unique, McMahon says, because when the trust restored the house, it was able to retrieve the Hatches’ original belongings, which the family had placed in storage when the National Seashore took possession. Consequently, the furnishings, books and paintings are all original to the house—providing an authentic setting in which to experience this unique architectural movement.
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