Built On Narrow Land
Built on Narrow Land portrays a moment on Cape Cod in the 40s and 50s when Bauhaus, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer – who had taken over teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Design and summered on the Cod - inspired a group of rogue bohemian architects to build modern houses on the New England seaside. 'We've found Nirvana here on the Cape,’ Breuer had exclaimed to a friend. Using local materials and the Bauhaus tradition of functionalism, these modernist houses were provocative in their minimalism. The houses served as beloved, experimental cottages until the land underneath them was seized by the federal government, when the Cape Cod National Seashore was declared public land in 1959. Many of the houses were abandoned and left to slowly rot in the landscape, though a handful have been protected and slowly restored today. Using visual archive material, Connolly tells us about the construction process – and depicts an entrepreneurial bohemian environment and their vision for the houses. Through the points of view of key characters, including Walter Gropius’ daughter, the film reveals the privilege of building on virgin landscape, and the impact and effect of eminent domain on people who chose to make their homes in these treasured lands.
1hr 4mins long