Friday, October 11, 2013

Weidlinger House Kickstarter Campaign

Help the Cape Cod Modern House Trust save this important modern house, and transform it into a home for creativity and learning.

Go to to help restoring this important architectural gem.

Weidlinger House Restoration
Due to a lack of resources from the Park Service, this irreplaceable piece of our cultural heritage ended up abandoned and slated for demolition in the pristine landscape of the Cape Cod National Seashore. The Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) has obtained a lease and begun a full restoration, which we hope to finish, with your help, by July, 2014. This Kickstarter campaign is to raise $50,000 toward that goal.

The Weidlinger House in 1953 soon after construction. Photo: Madeliene Weidlinger-Friedli
The Weidlinger House in 1953 soon after construction. Photo: Madeliene Weidlinger-Friedli

The same corner of the house as it looks today. Photo: Dave Kennedy
The same corner of the house as it looks today. Photo: Dave Kennedy
The House
In 1952, Paul Weidlinger bought this secluded parcel of land in Wellfleet. Inspired by his friend, the famed architect Marcel Breuer, who had settled just across the pond, he set out to combine his vision of experimental modernism with the particular requirements of a Cape Cod summerhouse.
The structure hovers over the landscape, a perfect platform for viewing the unspoiled pond and woods. While the three bedrooms and bath are enclosed and rest just above the ground, the open, expansive living space vaults into the air on X braced stilts, a 16-foot wide sliding door opening to the views. The four foot deep veranda surrounds the house, accessed by a flying ramp. The original palette of cobalt blue for doors and window frames and school bus yellow for the steel struts will soon be repainted.

A view of the veranda facing the pond. 1953. Photo: Madeliene Weidlinger-Friedli
A view of the veranda facing the pond. 1953. Photo: Madeliene Weidlinger-Friedli

The living room in it’s original state. Photo: Madeliene Weidlinger-Friedli
The living room in it’s original state. Photo: Madeliene Weidlinger-Friedli
 Paul Weidlinger
Born in Budapest in 1914, Paul Weidlinger apprenticed in Paris with LeCorbusier and London with Lazlo Maholy Nagy before coming to the US and starting his own practice. He specialized in the most daunting structural problems, including pioneering the earthquake and blast proofing of structures and was sought out by many of the giants of modern architecture to help realize their most challenging designs. Following his lead, after 911 his successor firm Weidlinger Associates Inc. was called upon to analyze the collapses of the World Trade Center Towers.
Why was the building vacant?
After the Cape Cod National Seashore was created in 1961, a number of important modern houses were bought by the Federal Government and fell into administrative limbo. The Weidlinger house (one of these) has been derelict for 15 years. Though it will soon be listed on the National Registry, protecting it from demolition, the house is in urgent need of restoration to stop further decay.

Our crew opening up the boarded up sliding doors facing the pond. Photo: Tom Weidlinger
Our crew opening up the boarded up sliding doors facing the pond. Photo: Tom Weidlinger

The pond side of the house today. Photo: Raimund Koch
The pond side of the house today. Photo: Raimund Koch
 The Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT)
Incorporated in 2007 as a 501c3 non-profit, CCMHT has secured a lease on the house and plans to resume work on the restoration in Nov. 2013, with completion planned for summer 2014. The Trust has already leased and restored two abandoned modern houses in Wellfleet owed by the National Park Service. Both were made possible by previous, successful fundraising campaigns. These houses act as artist/scholar residencies in the shoulder seasons. In 2012 we hosted six teams of finalists in our Add-on ’13 affordable housing competition (see our blog for details) The effort sought to bring fresh thinking to the Outer Cape’s serious housing problem. Past residents have included painters, film makers, composers, and researchers (among other disciplines). The houses also serve as premiums for membership. Members receive weekly stays in the houses in return for a partially tax-deductible donation. 

Please help us save the Weidlinger House and make it a laboratory for a new generation of problem solvers.
Please attend one of our upcoming events and learn more about the project:

EVENTS: 2013/14
Oct. 9th 
Launch of Kickstarter campaign to fund restoration of the Weidlinger House (Paul Weidlinger, 1953) by Cape Cod Modern House Trust.

Oct. 9th
Opening of Add-on ’13 exhibit.
Boston Society of Architects gallery
Co-sponsored by DOCOMOMO

Screenings of “Built on Narrow Land” Documentary by Malachi Connolly:

Oct 9th,
Boston Society of Architects
290 Congress Street Boston, MA
(Along w/ opening on the Add-on ’13 finalist exhibit)

Oct 18
, 6:15pm
Architecture and Design Film Festival
Tribeca Cinemas NY,NY

Nov 2nd
, 2:00pm
Cape Cod National Seashore Headquarters
50 Nauset Road Eastham, MA

Nov. 9th
End of Kickstarter campaign, re-start of renovation project.

May 2014.
Publication of Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape, by Peter McMahon and Christine Cipriani, with photography by Raimund Koch. Published by Metropolis Books.

Friday, August 2, 2013


Hello all - we are excited to share with you that one of our projects has been published in the August issue of "Design Bureau".  We want to thank everyone who made this project happen, with a special thanks to NILU Home Improvement for their beautiful, high quality construction work.

Design Bureau Magazine

Thursday, May 9, 2013

DAS News

We are happy to announce that one of our projects will be published in the August edition of Design Bureau Magazine


Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Yellow City of Hills, Izamal

Last September my partner and I traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula to see Maya architecture and art. We decided to risk traveling during hurricane season in order to escape the crowds which normally visit the ruins as sideshows to a beach vacation.  We prefer off-seasons as this gives us more exposure to the environment in an unhurried and relaxed manner.  It does help that one often gets good deals - but the weather, opening hours and service may not be up to most people's reqs!

We landed in Cancun and immediately drove out to Izamal - a small town about 45 minutes away from Chichén Itzá, just north of Highway 180. Called "The Yellow City", with virtually every building painted a mustard yellow, Izamal was founded between 600-800AD one of the last Mayan towns established before the Conquest.  Izamal is one of the largest and oldest cities of the Yucatan peninsula and has been continually occupied by the last chieftains of the local Maya through modern times.  Also called "The City of Hills", the remains of 80 pre-Hispanic structures exist within city limits - many of which are are covered pyramids (the 'Hills') - but more about these later.  With its royal Maya, Hispanic colonial and contemporary flavors, this is one of the few cities that brings elements of all three cultures together in a beautiful and relaxed milieu.

Road from Highway 180 to Izamal
Typical Street in Izamal

Upon Conquest, as narrated by Friar Diego de Landa in his "Relaciones de las Cosas de Yucatan", there were originally twelve pyramids in Izamal in the early 16th century. Only four remain today: Kinich Kak Mo, Itzamatul, Ppap Hol Chak and Hun Pik Tok.

Stairs of the Convento de San Antonio
The impressive convent of Izamal - the Convento de San Antonio de Padua - was built atop and with masonry from the immense Ppap Hol Chak pyramid under orders from De Landa.  De Landa is also famous for initially recording Mayan literature and then in a fit of rage ordering all extant texts to be burned. Construction of the convent began in 1533, and was completed in 1561.  It was one of the first convents built in the western hemisphere, and one can find evidence of maize patterns, Maya glyphs and square block-columns used in the original Maya temple. Even the unusual elevation of the courtyard/cloister of the monastery is an indication of the pyramid's platform on which it is built. The courtyard is accessed from the street by a wide stair-ramp on one side and a stair system on the other side (see image to the right). Probably due the size of the original Pyramid the Convent boasts an open air atrium second only in size to that at the Vatican.

A short walk to the north of the Convent / Ppap Hol Chak complex is the Kinich Kak Mo pyramid, largest in the state of Yucatán and third largest by volume in Mexico. It's base covers 2 acres with a 10 level pyramid on top. Built around 400–600 AD, the pyramid was dedicated to the sun god, or Fire Macaw. It was the principal structure of a massive plaza that extended over much of present-day Izamal. We arrived too late to enter the site, and while a local restaurant invited us to climb up through other access points on a side street, we declined as it was also getting dark.  We have some external shots (see image below) that hint at its magnificence.

Izamal is on the tentative list for the UNESCO Wold Heritage Nominations.  All photographs copyright (c) Stefanie Werner, Das Studio.

Convento de San Antonio Ramp to Courtyard
Convento de San Antonio Church
Convento de San Antonio Courtyard
Convento de San Antonio Courtyard
Convento de San Antonio Ramp

Kinich Kak Mo from the street. We arrived too late.The site was already closed
Maya Ruin in Izamal
Izamal Typical Architecture

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Years Resolutions

We found this article on Houzz and felt it is really helpful