Cape Cod, where I spend as much time as I can, can not only boast fantastic beaches, world famous oysters, and the wild east that is Provincetown, but a number of Bauhaus-inspired dune-dwellings—some by celebrated architects, many of them abandoned and falling apart.
Malachi Connolly’s “Built on Narrow Land,” which had its world premiere last June at the Provincetown Film Festival (and played the Outer Cape library circuit) all summer, is an act of preservation and polite outrage.
These modest, sensitively designed homes, attest to the largely European artists and architects—including Walter Gropius and his student Marcel Breuer–who found their way to the Cape in the 1940s. Most of these domiciles were built in what has since 1961 been a National Seashore and consequently exist in a sort of legal limbo. National treasures rot while a parade of mammoth trophy houses have been allowed to pollute the landscape.
More an illustrated lecture than a documentary, but no less interesting or impassioned for that, “Built on Narrow Land” will be screened this Friday at 6:15 pm, as part of the Architecture and Design Film Festival at the Tribeca Cinema in New York; November 2 its showing in Eastham at the Cape Cod National Seashore Headquarters, a screening that promises to spark some lively debate.
Image: Malachi Connolly