Threads of nature and history intertwine in the rich and distinctive architectural heritage of Cape Cod, Mass., and its neighboring islands, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Hutker Architects has demonstrated in its 25 years of practice an unerring feel for that heritage, from the vernacular of fishing shacks and agricultural buildings to the formal language of the Shingle Style. The firm’s extensive portfolio of work on existing buildings, and on new buildings in traditional styles, manages the difficult task of balancing authenticity with originality. But its signature projects are those that approach the same problem from the opposite direction, employing traditional forms and materials in service of modernist aims.
“We’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the architecture of the communities that we work in, and an equal amount of time trying to understand the material ethics of each place,” says principal Mark Hutker, AIA. “Our ‘New Regional Vernacular’ riffs off of both of those.” The result is work that is fresh and varied but also unmistakably rooted in its physical and cultural context. The latter includes the enduring appeal of summers at the shore, and the firm’s portfolio of second homes is worthy of special note. Impeccably tuned to their function, these buildings use familiar imagery—often in abstracted form—to convey a distilled essence of Cape Cod summer living.
What is the most gratifying aspect of residential practice?
Getting a phone call 15 years after you design someone’s house and hearing the owner tell you how much they enjoyed having their grandchildren visit for the whole summer.
What is the most frustrating aspect?
Dealing with indecision and moving targets.
What is your mission statement or firm goal?
We create heirlooms worthy of preservation.
What is the most indispensable tool in your office?
Our creative staff and our creative and collaborative work culture.
What software does your firm use?
Spirit for CAD; Deltek for business.
Who is your ideal client?
People who share our vision of building once, well, for the long term; clients who care about being stewards of the community of which they are becoming a part.
What is your favorite building?
Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mairea.
If you didn’t have the time to design your own house, who would you hire?