When a photographer was ready to retire from her long nonprofit career in Boston, she knew exactly where she’d head next—to an Outer Cape Cod town she had visited for decades. She had fallen in love with the windswept landscapes, the art-filled culture, and the abundance of oysters.
Picking the right architecture firm to design her new home was also a straightforward choice. "I would pass one of Stack + Co.’s first buildings—The Box Office, which is made from shipping containers—on the Amtrak train when I went through Providence," says the client. "I looked at other architecture firms and knew other architects, but I liked Stack’s modernist approach, and I knew I wanted to explore a factory-made home."
Inspired by the gridded aesthetic of Cape Cod’s midcentury modern houses, Boston-based Stack + Co. designed a 1,800-square-foot home composed of three tapering prefabricated modules—an unusual departure from the conventional rectangular modules—elevated above the ground on a steel frame and clad in barn board pine with a Swedish black pine tar finish.
"While looking at nearby examples of experimental homes, we noted a rigorous grid and modularity of construction—even though by and large these structures were site built," says Andrew Wade Keating, Principal at Stack + Co. "Our thought process was to utilize off-site fabrication techniques to create a similar logic, and create a strong sense of the informal, unfussy, do-it-yourself spirit of the artist’s retreat."
"I was drawn to the idea of a factory-made home because you didn’t have to worry about the weather, or securing tools, or a lot of damage to the site—because the house comes to the site," adds the client, who minimized potential roadblocks by purchasing property outside of a homeowner’s association that was also free of deed restrictions and design approval requirements. "I also liked that you have all the trades there under one roof, so you don’t have to schedule and wait for the plumber to show up; the plumber is there, the electrician is there."
Although the midcentury grid provided a starting point for the design, the home deviates from the orthogonal—it’s composed of three non-standard tapering modules that are nested together to create serial views of the landscape. The connection to the outdoors is strengthened with the addition of an expansive site-built timber deck, large glazed openings, and a natural material palette.
"Warp House uses offsite fabrication and an integrated architecture and construction approach to bring the tradition of Cape Cod experimental houses forward into the 21st century," says the firm.
Builder/General Contractor: Stack + Co.
Structural Engineer: Stuctures Workshop
Civil Engineer: Ryder and Wilcox
Lighting Design/Interior Design: Stack + Co.
Cabinetry Design/ Installation: Mod Logic (Formerly NRB)