A Sense of Place
Houses on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod
Written by Mark A. Hutker. Written with Marc Kristal
Thirteen exquisite houses create a portrait of life in one of America’s most exclusive coastal destinations, along the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod.
Hutker Architects, led by founding principal Mark A. Hutker, has designed more than three hundred houses along the New England shore. A member of the close community on Martha’s Vineyard since his arrival in 1985, Hutker has become an expert at interpreting the ideal lifestyles of his clients within the respected traditions and restrictive codes of the beautiful but fragile environment.
In their design and construction, these houses honor the vernacular traditions of craft and indigenous materials, are deeply respectful of the cherished landscape, and demonstrate a lively range of solutions to building on the bluffs and dunes that line the shores of the Vineyard and Cape Cod. A working organic farm fulfills a family’s dream of simpler values; a luxurious renovation saves the best of an antique shingle cottage while transforming it for contemporary family life and a raised structure clad in naturally weathered boards combines the legacy of midcentury regional modern architecture with Cape Cod’s maritime tradition.
The firm is committed to the principle “Build once, well,” looking to the historic architecture of the region and the inherited experience of its carpenters and craftspeople as inspiration for contemporary design. The result is an architecture that is at once adaptable and livable, yet enduring, efficient, inevitable, and appropriate.
The houses sit lightly on the land, deferring to their surroundings, often built as a series of modest pavilions linked by passages or grouped to enclose an outdoor space. Creative design solutions—a light-filled gallery running the full length of a house, a continuous wall of sliding glass doors—make houses both open to views, but protective in a storm. Specially commissioned photography captures the craftsmanship and the settings of the houses, from dramatic bluffs overlooking the sea to secluded coves and rolling meadows filled with wildflowers, creating a unique portrait of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.
Praise for A Sense of Place
“Meet the architect behind Cape Cod’s most beautiful homes. A Sense of Place by architect Mark. A. Hutker looks at more than 300 houses he has designed along the breezy Massachusetts shore.”
“After designing homes on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard for thirty years, Hutker Architects is known for building livable places that respect the region’s heritage. Their recently published book showcases thirteen projects that combine enduring architecture with new innovations—a stunning collection for the library of any sea-lover. With five essays and more than 200 photographs, the book is a tribute to the evolution of the cape house, with naturally weathered boards that honor coastal views and connect generations. The included homes highlight the firm’s motto, 'build once, well,' as Hutker and his principles tap into history and make homes new without banishing the old.”
—Boston Home magazine
“Place is a powerful word for an architect. It describes the intangible feel of a location—its history, its present, and its future, all while drawing on what’s around the site, so that being there is unlike being anywhere else. Hutker Architects, which has offices in Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, has 30 years’ experience designing houses among the rocky bluffs and sandy dunes of the New England coastline, and the firm’s book explores what makes the area unique. With five essays and more than 200 photographs (the cover shot is by Design New England contributing photographer Eric Roth) of houses that the firm, led by principal Mark A. Hutker, has designed, the book explores the values guiding every choice, from tapping local traditions to using native materials to infusing the inimitable histories of each community.”
—Design New England
“Hutker Architects’ second book features photography of 13 homes on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard as well as essays about each place. On the Vineyard, projects included range from The Grey Barn Farm in Chilmark to a home overlooking the Edgartown Harbor. 'Our goal is to create the kind of structures that the community will want to defend in the future.'”
—The Vineyard Gazette
“Projects that defer to their surroundings and feature creative design solutions.”
—The Boston Globe
“Lose yourself in the enchanting world of architect Mark Hutker, and his realm of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Add some lobster rolls, white wine, and dream away.”
“Hutker as a firm is known for its sense of stewardship and sense of place, and the work shown here reflects that, with weathered wooden structures and tiled roofs which are congruent with the architectural vernacular their chosen areas have always been known for. The Salt Shack on Buzzards Bay is representative, with its variation on a traditional shape and its use of windows to open up as much of the house, which is set on a narrow neck of land, as possible. Right outside can be seen pristine, protected bay. The interiors are typically clean and spare.”
—Women's Wear Daily
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