02 June 2008

The (modern) Cape Cod.

It is perfect and simple in design. It is the Cape Cod House.

It is also the first house I learned to draw as a kid (and I know that this is no great feat as I am and have always been a terrible artist or renderer of anything onto paper). A visual artist (even with the exception of a passable photograph now and again) I am not.

I thank you for reawakening my interest in housing and architecture beyond my obsessive hunts for plans and parameters of Renaissance English studies and the contents inside of them. You know the names of architects whose work I have come to admire over the years; I, who am woefully uninitiated in the world of design, am trying to catch up and learn a vocabulary of names that I believe is important and valuable.

I lived in a most traditional interpretation of this architectural structure my second year at college. I shared a large room with a girl who desperately missed the bayous and food and life of southern Louisiana. I certainly couldn't blame her after visiting her city and seeing how rambling and wonderfully slow paced life could be away from the places and cities most familiar to me.
(Coincidentally, New Orleans has one of my favorite types of houses as well.)

I suppose that I could say that the house I lived in during a part of graduate school was a cape cod as well, but I'm not as comfortable with that definition. I had my own terrific study in that house (but really it turned into a room where I would read Shakespeare and take naps)

And now as I am building my own vocabulary of architecture, I found a modern (mid-century to be exact) interpretation of one of my favorite houses:

Eero Saarinen (who consequently is the subject of a fantastic exhibit at the Building Museum in Washington DC) designed a modern cape cod house for himself. Here is a partial picture of a house that is attached to a beautiful piece of property--a house designed by someone who I have come to discover designed Dulles Airport (in my opinion one of the most beautiful places to fly out of--even if it is most inconvenient) and so many other buildings and pieces of furniture that I really love.

There's something comforting and insular about the Cape Cod. The rooms are ordered and organized, and while I have not seen a modern interpretation of a such a structure, I imagine that it would take particular elements of this order and shift it to ensure the same insular protective ethos while exploring the elements of nature that should never go so ignored.


a little of this, a little of that... said...

May I politely disagree? You render words onto paper (or the screen standing in for paper) quite well.

So is the Cape Cod a favorite because of the design, because of the memories you associate with living in this style of house, or both?

Pascal Ebert said...

Your photo could have been taken from the front yard of the first house that I ever owned.

We left in search of more doors to slam and I often wish we hadn't done so.

ma said...


Well it's a little of both. I guess I really didn't answer the question and did more of a reflection kind of thing. I guess it's a little of both. you're such a good reader.

pascal ebert,

That's a lovely house. I don't know if you should or shouldn't have left it, but it is lovely.