In early 2015, a time when some of Birmingham’s most precious Brutalist buildings at Paradise Circus are being demolished, Birmingham Modernist aims to take stock for a moment and celebrate the city’s 20th-century architecture. Through reader contributions, it will progressively identify and plot its key Modernist and Brutalist buildings via an online map. To make a submission, visit the site. Birmingham Modernist is a Modernist Magazine online project published by The Modernist Society CIC.



This book of pictures of modernist New Zealand homes is by Mary Gaudin, a New Zealand photographer living in Montpellier, France. She explains: ‘The idea for the project wasn’t so much to document the houses in purely architectural terms, but to give an idea of the way these houses were and are lived in, as well as showing details of the designs and the materials used in their construction. The use of native timbers throughout these houses has given a unique feel to the interiors. In the Martin house, for example, John Scott used rimu for cupboard doors and matai, a wood which darkens with age, for the handles.

‘I also wanted to look at the way these houses fitted into their surroundings. All of the Wellington homes are connected to native bush, attracting tuis, fantails and bellbirds amongst other native birds. The owners of the Einhorn house, which backs onto the Karori bird sanctuary, sometimes see rare hihi feeding in their garden. The front of the Manning house is surrounded by an enormous pohutakawa tree which, from inside the house, filters views out towards Auckland’s harbour bridge.

‘The title of the book comes from a phrase in an email from Bruce Martin giving directions to his home at Bridge Pā. Filled with a lifetime of pottery both from Bruce and Estelle’s work, together with gifts from potter friends, the Martin’s home highlights the particular mix of craftsmanship and design which is reminiscent of all the homes shown in this book.’

For more information, visit Down the long driveway.

Felip Camps . artist studio . Girona (4)
Artist’s Studio, Girona, by Josep Camps & Olga Felip Arquitecturia (2013)

Quadruple 4-Cube Glass Room, London, by Andrew Pilkington Architects & Designers (2013)

MacKenzie Place, Edinburgh, by Sutherland Hussey Architects (2013)

The Wind Tower, Lincolnshire, by MSA-Gruff (2014)

The Architects’ Journal has published the 12 shortlisted projects in its 2015 Small Projects Award. The projects, which must cost between £0 and £125k to qualify, range from a beach tower to a community shed. In the next stage of the competition the finalists will present their schemes to a panel of judges. The winner will be announced on 18th March, and on the same day an exhibition of the shortlisted designs will go on display at the Building Centre until 11th April. Last year’s overall award went to Chris Dyson Architects for its 2013 Wapping Pierhead. For full details of this year’s finalists visit the AJ website.

For modern properties for sale and to let in the UK, visit The Modern House.

The Last Stand  by Triplekite Publishing documents some of the physical remnants of the Second World War on the coastlines of the British Isles and Northern Europe. The series of images, taken by British photographer Marc Wilson, focus on military defence structures that remain and their place in the shifting landscape that surrounds them. Many of these locations are no longer in sight, either subsumed or submerged by the changing sands and waters or by more human intervention. At the same time others have re-emerged from their shrouds. The series is made up of 86 images taken between 2010 and 2014. In these four years Wilson travelled 23,000 miles to 143 locations to capture these images, along the coastlines of the UK, The Channel Islands, Northern & Western France, Denmark, Belgium and Norway. For more information visit The Last Stand.

For modern properties for sale in the UK, visit The Modern House.






High & Over by Amyas Connell

Martello Tower by Piercy Conner Architects

Slip House by Carl Turner

Read a roundup of last year and predictions for the coming year in our January 2015 Market Report. Last year we reversed the trend of a quiet December, selling five properties via sealed bids. The number of unique visitors to our website is up 400% on five years ago, and newsletter subscribers up a massive 500%. We sold two properties to Turner Prize winners and sold in SE5 for more than £2,000,000. We also sold a number of listed properties, properties with RIBA awards and a Manser Medal winner. Some of our most notable sales of 2014 were conversions: an ice-cream factory, a water tower, a furniture workshop, an electricity substation and, perhaps most memorable of all, a Martello Tower. Read a more detailed account plus an analysis of 2015 trend predictions here.

For modern properties for sale in the UK, visit The Modern House.

Halprin House by Hayden Walling in Wellfleet. Photography: Raimund Koch

Saarinen House by Olav Hammarstrom in Wellfleet. Photography: Raimund Koch

If you look at Cape Cod on a map, it resembles a putrescent arm, with Brewster at its bony bicep and Provincetown curled into a feeble fist. Locked between the ocean on one side and the bay on the other, this rugged peninsular has long played fisticuffs with the unforgiving elements, but it’s a battle that can never be won. “Five thousand years from now,” begins this book ominously, “Cape Cod will be gone.”

The architecture has adopted a suitable sense of impermanence. Buildings are invariably raised up on stilts, to allow water, snow or sand to career around beneath them. The area’s signature house type, the Cape, was built to be movable; when the ocean encroached, the owners would float it from one part of town to another. Homes were thrown together with whatever materials were handy. The same is true of the houses that sprung up in the 20th century; if a plot of land already contained an old house or cabin, most designers simply grafted a modern structure onto it.

The first of the Outer Cape’s modernisers was Jack Phillips, a 20-year-old Harvard undergraduate from a prominent Bostonian family. Having inherited an 800-acre plot on what was considered a bug-infested wasteland, he built himself an audacious dune studio in 1938. With its mono-pitched clapboarded form and outsized full-height window, it set the tone for 40 years of thrilling site-specific architecture, which is the subject of this wonderful book.

Phillips’s next project combined the white-painted stucco and cubist forms of European Modernism with the local tradition of recycling. Clad in Homasote, a pressed board of pulped newspaper, it was dubbed the Paper Palace. Surrealist painter Roberto Matta rented it one summer and hosted Max Ernst, Peggy Guggenheim and Robert Motherwell, “a pretty unconventional bunch”, said Phillips, who was taken aback by the games played on his property – particularly a version of Truth or Dare in which one forfeit was to masturbate in front of the group.

Despite the presence of these free-spirited natives, the Cape owes its architectural richness primarily to European émigrés. Serge Chermayeff erected a mono-pitched timber-framed house with brightly coloured side panels reminiscent of nautical flags. He then urged Marcel Breuer to buy a plot nearby, who in 1949 built his prototypical long house. Breuer, in turn, lured Walter Gropius. Within a few years, the sand dunes and pitch pines resounded with central European chatter.

Like the fishing shacks and colonial cottages before them, these buildings quickly fell into disrepair once their occupants had gone. In 2007, the nonprofit Cape Cod Modern House Trust was inaugurated, and set about restoring some of them as holiday homes. The result is that one of the world’s most important aggregations of Modernist houses has been preserved for the next generation. As for future generations? The whistling wind and wayward waves will decide.

This review by Matt Gibberd first appeared in the February 2015 issue of The World Of Interiors

For more information visit Metropolis Books. For modern properties for sale in the UK, visit The Modern House.

Simpson Lee House, Mount Wilson, New South Wales, Australia © Glen Murcutt

Piloet, Chamonix, France © Chevallier Architectes

IT Cabin, Clear Lake, California, USA © Taalman Koch Architecture

Mountain Modern by Thames & Hudson is a visual sourcebook of 25 architect-designed homes in mountain settings, written by Dominic Bradbury and photographed by Richard Powers. It features houses ranging from a converted railway station to the first and only house designed by Ai Wei Wei (with HHF Architects). Organised into three sections, ‘Cabin’, ‘Chalet’ and ‘Villa’, it covers projects from around the world, from upstate New York to the Isle of Skye. The book also explores the heritage of alpine architecture, which has inspired many of architects of the 20th century, including Le Corbusier and Carlo Molino. For more information visit Thames & Hudson.

For modern properties for sale and to let in the UK, visit The Modern House.

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