Massachusetts Modern: 8 Striking Spaces in the Bay State

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December 9, 2013
Massachusetts has a long and storied history of progressivism, one that is reflected in these groundbreaking designs from Dwell's archives.
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  Beat Schenk and Chaewon Kim turned a pair of lots in the shadow of the Harvard Design School in Cambridge into a design laboratory of sorts, renovating three houses and building a fourth, making creative use of a cramped space. Photo by Adam Friedberg.  Photo by: Adam Friedberg

    Beat Schenk and Chaewon Kim turned a pair of lots in the shadow of the Harvard Design School in Cambridge into a design laboratory of sorts, renovating three houses and building a fourth, making creative use of a cramped space. Photo by Adam Friedberg.

    Photo by: Adam Friedberg

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  Having bought a cramped farmhouse in Amherst, Massachusetts, Sydne Didier and her husband set about building a pool house. The initial idea was to make the second structure a workout room, guest room, and pool combo, but budgetary constraints soon forced the couple to pare down their plans. Rachael Chase of Austin Design Inc., based in Colrain, Massachusetts, designed a 102-foot-long pool house that encases the 75-by-8-foot pool, though just barely. Clerestory windows let in ample natural light, and several pairs of glass doors open wide to the outside world. Photo by David Stansbury.

    Having bought a cramped farmhouse in Amherst, Massachusetts, Sydne Didier and her husband set about building a pool house. The initial idea was to make the second structure a workout room, guest room, and pool combo, but budgetary constraints soon forced the couple to pare down their plans. Rachael Chase of Austin Design Inc., based in Colrain, Massachusetts, designed a 102-foot-long pool house that encases the 75-by-8-foot pool, though just barely. Clerestory windows let in ample natural light, and several pairs of glass doors open wide to the outside world. Photo by David Stansbury.

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  This Cor-Ten steel fence, which the landscape architect and artist Mikyoung Kim designed for Bob Davoli and Eileen McDonagh, winds its way through the woods of Lincoln, Massachusetts, like a serpent skeleton fished out of the adjacent Farrar Pond. Unlike most fences—which follow rigid property lines in the utilitarian service of exclusion or containment—it meanders like a weathered Andy Goldsworthy sculpture that just happens to keep the family dogs near home as well. Photo by Charles Mayer.  Photo by: Charles MayerCourtesy of: Charles Mayer

    This Cor-Ten steel fence, which the landscape architect and artist Mikyoung Kim designed for Bob Davoli and Eileen McDonagh, winds its way through the woods of Lincoln, Massachusetts, like a serpent skeleton fished out of the adjacent Farrar Pond. Unlike most fences—which follow rigid property lines in the utilitarian service of exclusion or containment—it meanders like a weathered Andy Goldsworthy sculpture that just happens to keep the family dogs near home as well. Photo by Charles Mayer.

    Photo by: Charles Mayer

    Courtesy of: Charles Mayer

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  Deep window openings pop in bright bursts through the silvery, white-cedar cladding of the Pull House, which Jeff Taylor and Alex Miller designed in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. “The punches of color are points of personal expression,” says Taylor, cofounder of Taylor and Miller Architecture and Design. “They let the vitality of the residents leak out so passersby can experience the inside from the outside.” Photo by Gregory Cherin.  Photo by: Gregory CherinCourtesy of: Gregory Cherin

    Deep window openings pop in bright bursts through the silvery, white-cedar cladding of the Pull House, which Jeff Taylor and Alex Miller designed in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. “The punches of color are points of personal expression,” says Taylor, cofounder of Taylor and Miller Architecture and Design. “They let the vitality of the residents leak out so passersby can experience the inside from the outside.” Photo by Gregory Cherin.

    Photo by: Gregory Cherin

    Courtesy of: Gregory Cherin

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  John Braver hired Jinhee Park and John Hong of the architecture firm SsD to help him renovate and expand his house  in Newton, Massachusetts, without letting his living room swallow up the lawn. By building up (to add a second floor and roof deck), down (to create a split-level kitchen and office space), and green (to benefit from a passive ventilation stack and a solar array to heat water) the Braver house has gone from 1,300 square feet to a more expansive 2,600 without blowing things out of proportion. Photo by Chang Kyun Kim.  Photo by: Chang Kyun Kim

    John Braver hired Jinhee Park and John Hong of the architecture firm SsD to help him renovate and expand his house in Newton, Massachusetts, without letting his living room swallow up the lawn. By building up (to add a second floor and roof deck), down (to create a split-level kitchen and office space), and green (to benefit from a passive ventilation stack and a solar array to heat water) the Braver house has gone from 1,300 square feet to a more expansive 2,600 without blowing things out of proportion. Photo by Chang Kyun Kim.

    Photo by: Chang Kyun Kim

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  After years of renting a modernist Martha’s Vineyard summer house, Kathy and Jerry Kauff had a chance to build a place of their own on a four-and-a-half-acre property with magnificent sunset views across Menemsha Pond. Architect Toshiko Mori selected simple materials, like pre-finished bamboo flooring, and off-the-shelf items, like a prefab fireplace, to keep costs low, and Mori insisted that construction not begin until every design issue was resolved. “Toshiko paid attention to how we live and made it work so nicely,” Kathy says. “We benefited from her discipline.” Photo by Iwan Baan.

    After years of renting a modernist Martha’s Vineyard summer house, Kathy and Jerry Kauff had a chance to build a place of their own on a four-and-a-half-acre property with magnificent sunset views across Menemsha Pond. Architect Toshiko Mori selected simple materials, like pre-finished bamboo flooring, and off-the-shelf items, like a prefab fireplace, to keep costs low, and Mori insisted that construction not begin until every design issue was resolved. “Toshiko paid attention to how we live and made it work so nicely,” Kathy says. “We benefited from her discipline.” Photo by Iwan Baan.

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  When the Walter Gropius-designed Hagerty House was built in 1938 along the rocky coastline of Cohasset, Massachusetts, the stodgy Yankee neighbors were appalled. The minimalist structure may have sat in sharp contrast to the area’s traditional shingle, Federalist, and Greek Revival architecture, but it helped blaze a trail for the modern century to come. Photo by Dean Kaufman.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman

    When the Walter Gropius-designed Hagerty House was built in 1938 along the rocky coastline of Cohasset, Massachusetts, the stodgy Yankee neighbors were appalled. The minimalist structure may have sat in sharp contrast to the area’s traditional shingle, Federalist, and Greek Revival architecture, but it helped blaze a trail for the modern century to come. Photo by Dean Kaufman.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  A Newton, Massachusetts, couple with a large family turned to the Boston firm NADAAA to help them enlarge their brick neo-Georgian with an addition that would fit a generous kitchen and hangout space, all while avoiding superfluous detail. The architects plotted the striated addition with the owners’ primary goal in mind: to engage with the outdoors year-round. Photo by John Horner.  Photo by: John HornerCourtesy of: COPYRIGHT 2010, JOHN HORNER

    A Newton, Massachusetts, couple with a large family turned to the Boston firm NADAAA to help them enlarge their brick neo-Georgian with an addition that would fit a generous kitchen and hangout space, all while avoiding superfluous detail. The architects plotted the striated addition with the owners’ primary goal in mind: to engage with the outdoors year-round. Photo by John Horner.

    Photo by: John Horner

    Courtesy of: COPYRIGHT 2010, JOHN HORNER

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