Mid-Century Modern Beach House Shaped Like A Pinwheel
All the buildings I would do were an interpretation of (the Hamptons) landscape. - Peter Blake
The best mid-century modern beach house is the Pinwheel House by Peter Blake. Born in Germany, Blake’s family left for England during the Nazi occupation. Eventually, he made his way to New York, writing and editing for Architectural Forum. After WWII, during which he worked as an intelligence officer in the US Army, he returned to the US and was associated with a group of artists on Long Island, including Robert Motherwell, Willem De Kooning and Jackson Pollock.
A lifelong supporter of the modern movement in architecture, he believed in the beauty of clean lines and the elegance of simple, functional forms. He also believed that architecture had a social function and that its purpose was to make life better for those who lived and worked in the structures that architects create.
He built many mid-century modern beach houses in the Hamptons, but the Pinwheel House is the most innovative. He designed it in 1954 for his own family as a simple square box with two bedroom. Its most distinctive feature were the four large movable panel walls. Both the quarter-inch-thick plate glass windows and the white-painted plywood panels were mounted on a metal track system running the length of each facade. The walls could slide along the track allowing the occupants to decide how much or little air and light to let in. It also allowed for the walls to close down and protect the house from hurricanes. When the walls were extended out, it resembled a pinwheel.
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