Nestled in the pines in the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Bauhaus resides in Wellfleet. What began shortly after World War II with architects like Marcel Breuer, Serge Chermayeff and Walter Gropius has turned into a collection of empty, lichen covered dwellings; the sounds of summers past echoing through their cedar walls.
Marcel Breuer's home. Known for his tubular steel furniture and the Wassily chair, he also designed NYC's Whitney Museum and Flaine, a ski-town in the French Alps. Upon visting Wellfleet for the first time in 1944, he designed this summer home for his family. Falling in love with the outer Cape, they spent every summer in Wellfleet from then on. He is buried under the pines on this land. A huge rock he brought back from Japan marks his resting place.
Designed by Serge Chermayeff, this home is a walk through the woods from Breuers'. Paved only in pine needles, the road winds around kettle ponds with the trees, tall and regal, guarding the path.
From 'Community and Privacy' by Chermayeff and Christopher Alexander, 1964:
'Man is altering, as it were, the temperature and light and salinity of his own aquarium, irrationally, and with no knowledge of the possible results. Nobody knows what may happen.'
Nearby the Breuer & Chermayeff cottages, restoration continues on Paul Weidlinger's home. The Cape Cod Modern House Trust is painstakingly peeling back the layers of time, saving what can be saved, reusing what they can to return the home to its former shape and state. Thomas has been lucky enough to be part of this restoration.
These 16 foot glass doors slide open onto a soon-to-be screened in veranda per the original design, revealing the land and the pond beyond, opening the home to the surrounding woods. Still hanging, these are the original glass doors; somehow surviving through years of rough New England weather. When the CCMHT crew first began work on the cottage, it had been unoccupied, alone, for almost 20 years. A tree had fallen across the roof, buckling the wraparound deck, but magically the glass doors stayed intact.
This speaker sits inside the wall between the living space and the kitchen. The home also featured custom workspaces, window treatments and built in cabinets, all to be replicated by the CCMHT.
These architects, masters of their time, treaded lightly on this land, but have left behind a legacy. WIth glass, cedar, the privacy of the pines, they turned the inside out and brought the outdoors in to these small, simple homes. 50 to 60 years old, they rival the audacious mansions of today in their looks as well as their footprint on the land. When it comes time for Thomas and I to buy or build, these are the men we will look to for advice.
It's not easy to explain how this place - Wellfleet, the outer Cape - has such a hold on my heart. Please watch this to see more, hear more.