Experience Cape Cod Modern by Staying at the Midcentury Weidlinger House

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
Taking cues from his illustrious friend and neighbor Marcel Breuer, engineer Paul Weidlinger designed a summer house on the edge of a pond in the quiet Cape Cod town of Wellfleet.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1914, Weidlinger was educated at the Technical Institute in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and at the Swiss Polytechnic Institute. Following his graduation in 1937, he apprenticed with both László Moholy-Nagy (professor in the Bauhaus school, painter, photographer) and Le Corbusier (revolutionary French-Swiss architect). After leaving Europe in 1939 to work and teach in La Paz, Bolivia, he then made his way to the United States in 1943, and finally started his own practice five years later.

As an adjunct professor at MIT and Harvard University, Weidlinger first came to Wellfleet at the invitation of Marcel Breuer, who persuaded him to buy land near Breuer's own summer house. It was there that he joined an enclave of European expats who all summered on the Cape. In fact, it's been reported that Breuer, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier were all advising Weidlinger on the design of his own holiday home. Le Corbusier allegedly said, "Don’t pave the driveway." As a result, a long, twisting, and bumpy dirt driveway leads to a parking spot under the house—a nod to the iconic driveway at Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye

Built by Weidlinger in 1953, the Weidlinger House shows the influence of his famous colleagues. It looks like a white box floating above the ground and serves as a platform for its surroundings—similar to Breuer’s own house across the pond. 

The home takes cues from Breuer, as Weidlinger divided the house into public and private sections. The large living area features an open post-and-beam structure with facade sections that are fully glazed or solid, and are surrounded on three sides by a shaded veranda that's accessible from a Corbusian ramp. Below, steel X braces, which were originally painted yellow, act as structural support.

By the late-1990s, the home was vacant and in danger of demolition until 2012 when the Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) obtained a lease and beautifully restored the property. It's now available for house stays through the CCMHT in exchange for a partially tax-deductible donation.

Like a 3D structural diagram, the house offers a glimpse into the thought process of one of the 20th century’s great structural designers—giving guests much more than just a vacation in Cape Cod. 

The Weidlinger House has three bedrooms and one bath, along with pond access. Plus, it's only a short walk to the beach. House stays are available as a premium for a partially tax-deductible donation to the Cape Cod Modern House Trust, and can be booked here

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