News July 2023

Photo courtesy Cape Cod Modern House Trust.

On the Cape: Breuer House Preservation Project 2023

July 26, 2023

The Cape Cod Modern House Trust’s project to raise $1.4 million to purchase and prevent the demolition of Marcel Breuer’s Wellfleet, MA, house is underway. The home is regarded as the most significant modern house on the Cape. By preserving it, Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) also has the opportunity to archive Breuer’s collection of art, furniture, books, and photographs to make them available to scholars and the public. There is a limited window of opportunity for this purchase to happen. If the home is listed for sale on the open real estate market, it is at considerable risk of being demolished. The Outer Cape has lost about one modernist house per year since 2016.

In the early 1940s, after a visit to Wellfleet, Breuer became inspired by the landscape and bought 24 acres of land. In 1949, the long-house, an extended wooden box elevated on posts with a pitched shed roof and suspended screen porch, was built on a hill overlooking three ponds. It has ebony-stained oak floors, birch plywood ceilings, Homasote wall finishes, and a suspended slat ceiling on the porch. Breuer added a large studio in 1961 for art, music, and gatherings, and an apartment with a darkroom for his son, Tom, in 1968. He later sold almost 20 acres to the park that now surrounds the home’s 4.2 acres.

The seller’s deadline is Spring 2024. This would be the first building owned by the CCMHT which would prevent the house from being threatened by future lease negotiations with the Park. The Trust also seeks to add it to the National Register of Historic Places. Read the PDF detailing the history of Marcel Breuer and his Wellfleet home, as well as more information about the Trust’s project including repair needs and programmatic plans.

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

“Breuer House Project,” Cape Cod Modern House Trust.