Architect: Paul Weidlinger
Higgins Pond House, Cape Cod, USAFrom approx £2,100
‘Yankee ingenuity meets Modernist simplicity’
Built in the early 1950s by pioneering engineer Paul Weidlinger, this summer house looks like a white box floating high above the ground. Like his friend Marcel Breuer’s house across the pond, it serves as a hovering platform for viewing nature.
Anchored on concrete piers at the higher end of the slope, the house shoots out over stilts of increasing height until it is suspended in mid-air for a commanding view. There are three bedrooms and one bathroom, centred around a large living area. The house also has access to the ponds and is a short walk from the ocean beach.
Taking another cue from Breuer, Weidlinger visibly divided the house into public and private sections. The bedroom zone has fairly enclosed stud-walls, while the large living area, is an open post-and-beam structure with façade sections that are fully glazed or fully solid, surrounded on three sides by a shaded veranda accessed from a Corbusian ramp. Steel X bracing carries the structural forces to the ground.
Standing like a 3D structural diagram, the house offers a glimpse into the thought process of one of the twentieth century’s great structural designers.
Positioned on the Outer Cape, the house is close to some of the best beaches in America. The Cape has long been a popular holiday destination, which has inspired visitors like Edward Hopper who spent ‘40 of his 84 summers’ there, as well as Henry David Thoreau and the Kennedy family.
The nearest town, Wellfleet, is well known for its art galleries and seafood. Further up the Cape is Provincetown, one of the oldest artists’ colonies in the US, which retains a unique character, and is a popular destination for shopping and dining.
Between 1930 and 1970, more than 100 houses were built around Wellfleet and Truro by a variety of architects and designers, many of them refugees from Europe who had taken posts at East Coast universities like Yale and Harvard.
The houses and cottages were designed to be rural retreats, and the Cape was selected for its spectacular, unspoiled landscape. The group included Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, his former student Marcel Breuer and Serge Chermayeff, one of the architects behind the De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex.
Flights to Boston Logan International Airport, train or car to Wellfleet.
Jun $2,750 per week
Jul-Aug $3,750 per week
Sep $2,750 per week
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