Modern Architecture in the Outer Cape Draws Scholars

A new book about modern architecture in the Outer Cape has been published this year.

A new book about modern architecture in the Outer Cape has been published this year.

WELLFLEET – Peter McMahon grew up summering in a modern house in Wellfleet built by a well-known architect, so he always has had a fondness for the modern architectural style.

Several years ago, he founded Cape Cod Modern House Trust to preserve modern houses in the Outer Cape towns.

The Cape Cod Modern House Trust was founded to collect, archive, and share documentation of the Outer Cape’s modern architecture, restore a group of important, endangered modern houses, and to relaunch them as platforms for new creative work.

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This year, he is the co-author of a book about the houses and the efforts to save them.

Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape, by Peter McMahon and Christine Cipriani, tells the story of the cosmopolitan group of designers who settled in Wellfleet and Truro between the 1930s and 1970s, and their experimental architectural legacy in the woods and dunes.

The book draws on Trust archives — including dozens of architectural and personal photos — but is largely a work of new research by Peter McMahon and Boston-based architecture writer Christine Cipriani, who had begun to study the houses independently.

The narrative is enriched by new photographs by Raimund Koch, new drawings of eight houses by Thomas Dalmas, and interviews with designers, their families, and their clients.

Listen to an interview with Peter McMahon below: