Peter McMahon is principal of PM Design in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts, which focuses on sustainable, modern architecture and restoration of mid-20th century buildings. Recent work includes the Straight House, a restoration /addition to a 1954 house by Dan Kiley.

In 2007 he founded the Cape Cod Modern House Trust to document and preserve modern architecture on the Outer Cape.  

His summer house in Wellfleet has been published in House Beautiful and Outside Architecture


CCMHT Mission:

The Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) was founded in 2007 as a grassroots organization with the mission of preventing the demolition of a group of significant modern houses owned by the National Park Service (NPS) on outer Cape Cod, and of renovating and repurposing these structures as loci for creativity and scholarship, as well as locating and archiving all available related materials related to this historical moment.

CCMHT has leased and restored the first of these abandoned, federally owned houses ( the Kugel/Gips house, 1970, Charles Zehnder) and has begun using it as the base for an off-season artist/scholar residency program.  We are awaiting negotiating for leases from the NPS for two additional houses in 2011.

Central to our project is the idea that buildings and landscapes bear cultural memories and ideologies.  Our goal is to extend the usefulness of these buildings in their extraordinary landscapes and to use the buildings and the tradition of free-thinking problem solvers to nurture new creativity and address contemporary issues of community, sustainability and built form.

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Starting in the late 1930s, the Outer Cape attracted some of the prime movers  of modern architecture, including Marcel Breuer, Serge Chermayeff and Olav Hammarstrom and engineer Paul Weidlinger, who built houses for themselves, their friends and clients. The Gropius family, Xanti Schawinski, the Saarinens and Florence and Hans Knoll all either rented summer cottages or were frequent houseguests here. The vibrant community also included artists, writers and academics and their students. This group of international refugees and their friends made a home for themselves in the secluded pinewoods of Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown; many are even buried here.   

The lecture focused on this history and current efforts to reframe and repurpose the area's modern legacy.