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High & Over by Amyas Connell

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M
artello Tower by Piercy Conner Architects

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S
lip House by Carl Turner

Read a roundup of last year and predictions for the coming year in our January 2015 Market Report. Last year we reversed the trend of a quiet December, selling five properties via sealed bids. The number of unique visitors to our website is up 400% on five years ago, and newsletter subscribers up a massive 500%. We sold two properties to Turner Prize winners and sold in SE5 for more than £2,000,000. We also sold a number of listed properties, properties with RIBA awards and a Manser Medal winner. Some of our most notable sales of 2014 were conversions: an ice-cream factory, a water tower, a furniture workshop, an electricity substation and, perhaps most memorable of all, a Martello Tower. Read a more detailed account plus an analysis of 2015 trend predictions here.

For modern properties for sale in the UK, visit The Modern House.

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Halprin House by Hayden Walling in Wellfleet. Photography: Raimund Koch

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Saarinen House by Olav Hammarstrom in Wellfleet. Photography: Raimund Koch

If you look at Cape Cod on a map, it resembles a putrescent arm, with Brewster at its bony bicep and Provincetown curled into a feeble fist. Locked between the ocean on one side and the bay on the other, this rugged peninsular has long played fisticuffs with the unforgiving elements, but it’s a battle that can never be won. “Five thousand years from now,” begins this book ominously, “Cape Cod will be gone.”

The architecture has adopted a suitable sense of impermanence. Buildings are invariably raised up on stilts, to allow water, snow or sand to career around beneath them. The area’s signature house type, the Cape, was built to be movable; when the ocean encroached, the owners would float it from one part of town to another. Homes were thrown together with whatever materials were handy. The same is true of the houses that sprung up in the 20th century; if a plot of land already contained an old house or cabin, most designers simply grafted a modern structure onto it.

The first of the Outer Cape’s modernisers was Jack Phillips, a 20-year-old Harvard undergraduate from a prominent Bostonian family. Having inherited an 800-acre plot on what was considered a bug-infested wasteland, he built himself an audacious dune studio in 1938. With its mono-pitched clapboarded form and outsized full-height window, it set the tone for 40 years of thrilling site-specific architecture, which is the subject of this wonderful book.

Phillips’s next project combined the white-painted stucco and cubist forms of European Modernism with the local tradition of recycling. Clad in Homasote, a pressed board of pulped newspaper, it was dubbed the Paper Palace. Surrealist painter Roberto Matta rented it one summer and hosted Max Ernst, Peggy Guggenheim and Robert Motherwell, “a pretty unconventional bunch”, said Phillips, who was taken aback by the games played on his property – particularly a version of Truth or Dare in which one forfeit was to masturbate in front of the group.

Despite the presence of these free-spirited natives, the Cape owes its architectural richness primarily to European émigrés. Serge Chermayeff erected a mono-pitched timber-framed house with brightly coloured side panels reminiscent of nautical flags. He then urged Marcel Breuer to buy a plot nearby, who in 1949 built his prototypical long house. Breuer, in turn, lured Walter Gropius. Within a few years, the sand dunes and pitch pines resounded with central European chatter.

Like the fishing shacks and colonial cottages before them, these buildings quickly fell into disrepair once their occupants had gone. In 2007, the nonprofit Cape Cod Modern House Trust was inaugurated, and set about restoring some of them as holiday homes. The result is that one of the world’s most important aggregations of Modernist houses has been preserved for the next generation. As for future generations? The whistling wind and wayward waves will decide.

This review by Matt Gibberd first appeared in the February 2015 issue of The World Of Interiors

For more information visit Metropolis Books. For modern properties for sale in the UK, visit The Modern House.

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Simpson Lee House, Mount Wilson, New South Wales, Australia © Glen Murcutt

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Piloet, Chamonix, France © Chevallier Architectes

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IT Cabin, Clear Lake, California, USA © Taalman Koch Architecture

Mountain Modern by Thames & Hudson is a visual sourcebook of 25 architect-designed homes in mountain settings, written by Dominic Bradbury and photographed by Richard Powers. It features houses ranging from a converted railway station to the first and only house designed by Ai Wei Wei (with HHF Architects). Organised into three sections, ‘Cabin’, ‘Chalet’ and ‘Villa’, it covers projects from around the world, from upstate New York to the Isle of Skye. The book also explores the heritage of alpine architecture, which has inspired many of architects of the 20th century, including Le Corbusier and Carlo Molino. For more information visit Thames & Hudson.

For modern properties for sale and to let in the UK, visit The Modern House.

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East façade Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, March 1964

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Living and dining areas of Maison A. Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, c.1951-55

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Le Corbusier presenting his model of the Venice Hospital, c.1963-65

In the lead-up to the fiftieth anniversary of Le Corbusier’s death, Phaidon have re-released this visual biography of his life and work in a more accessible size, to widen its audience. The book includes approximately 2,000 images documenting his major built works, urban plans, paintings, publications, and furniture. It also includes sketches and archival photographs, and personal correspondences that illustrate his relationships with Josephine Baker, Eileen Gray, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso and Jean Prouvé, amongst others. The book has an introductory essay by architectural historian Jean-Louis Cohen, and chapter introductions by Le Corbusier scholar Tim Benton. A separate booklet includes translations of documents, letters and annotations on his drawings. For more information visit the Phaidon website.

For modern properties for sale and to let in the UK, visit The Modern House.

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Vila Mariana Apartment by Estudio Guto Requena, Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Pilotis in a Forest by Go Hasegawa & Associates, Gunma, Japan

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House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo, Rome, Italy

‘Room’, a new book published by Phaidon, looks at contemporary interior design across the world. It presents 100 emerging designers, selected by a panel of ten established interior design critics, practitioners and curators. The projects ranges from retail concept stores, dining spaces, stage design and art installations, to hotels and houses. Arranged alphabetically by designer, it features over 700 photographs, renders and drawings. Each critic has written on each of the designs they have nominated. The book also includes biographies of all interior designers and curators on the panel, including co-founder of Apartamento Magazine, Nacho Alegre, and editor-in-chief of Wallpaper* magazine, Tony Chambers. For more information visit the Phaidon website.

For modern properties for sale and to let in the UK, visit The Modern House.

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Narein Perera, Estate Bungalow. Image: Malaka Weligodapola / Taschen

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Marte. Marte, Mountain Cabin. Image: Marc Lins / Taschen

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Tyin, Boathouse. Image: Pasi Aalto / Taschen

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In-Tenta, Drop Eco-Hotel. Image: Estudibasic, Manel Duró and Marta Gordillo

This new title from Taschen, ‘Life in the woods: Creative cabin architecture’, examines how architects from around the world have approached the concept of the remote, minimal, low-impact home. It combines text, photography and contemporary illustrations to showcase some of the most innovative examples of architectural cabins, ranging from from an artist studio on the Suffolk coast in England, to eco-home huts in the Western Ghats region of India. It features work from architects including Renzo Piano, Tom Kundig and Terunobu Fujimori. For more information visit Taschen.

For modern properties for sale and to let in the UK, visit The Modern House.

3_VSH_View towards kitchenn©Theo_Baart_2010
2_VSH_Central_hall©Theo_Baart_2010
4_VSH_View towards entrance©Theo_Baart_2010

‘Van Schijndel House’ by NDCC Publishers is an illustrated book about the architect Mart van Schijndel’s home in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He built the house for himself and his wife in 1992. After his death it was included in the Utrecht Municipal Historic Buildings Register, making it the youngest monument in Holland. The book combines new photography of the house and previously unpublished sketches by the architect, as well as extracts from his interviews and writings. It also includes a film, offering the architect’s own commentary. For more information visit the Van Schijndel House website.

For modern properties for sale and to let in the UK, visit The Modern House.

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