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.
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.
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.
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:
Launch of Kickstarter campaign to fund restoration of the Weidlinger House (Paul Weidlinger, 1953) by Cape Cod Modern House Trust.