Each year, tens of thousands of visitors flock to the beaches and lush pine forests of Martha’s Vineyard. Over the years, many have even become part-time residents and have taken it upon themselves to build contemporary homes alongside more traditional Victorian cottages and colonial farmhouses that give the island a more historic feel. Yet few have really examined these homes, which minimize intrusion in the beautiful landscape.

On July 7, join a book talk with architect Keith Moskow celebrating the launch of the new book Martha’s Vineyard: New Island Homes. Learn about a selection of beautiful contemporary homes on Martha’s Vineyard that are hidden from view, many shown in this new book for the first time. Take an architectural deep dive into what makes these homes special, hearing a brief history of contemporary architecture on Martha’s Vineyard. Also hear about the process of putting an architecture book together. The talk is free for Untapped New York Insiders (and get your first month free with code JOINUS). Attendees will also get a 20% discount to the book.

Bluff House Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard New Island Homes

“Today no architect would build on the Vineyard without careful attention to sustainability and energy efficiency, with all design consciously harnessed to minimize a house’s impact on the land,” wrote architecture critic William Morgan in the book’s introduction. “The real focus is the landscape, and it forms the overarching theme of this book. From the flat ground of Edgartown to the bluffs of Aquinnah, few islands offer the combination of seascape, woods, cliffs, fields, and moors. To travel across the island is like unfolding a painted scroll variously decorated with pastoral or dramatic scenery. Whether it is visible at the end of a field, tucked into the scrub oak, or commanding a view of sea, the way a house responds to the land is of primary importance.”

Chillmark House Olson Kundig
Chilmark House, Olson Kundig. Photo credit: Adam Bartos 

Martha’s Vineyard: New Island Homes surveys the island’s residential design, presenting 25 contemporary houses that extend the established Vineyard vernacular of shingled houses and cottages. Architects include nationally recognized Toshiko Mori, Ike Kligerman Barkley, and Olson Kundig, as well as several Boston and Vineyard-based firms. Featuring atmospheric photographs that capture the essence of the Vineyard coastline and its lush meadows and forests, this new book is a beautiful architectural portrait of this quintessential summer destination.

Oceans Edge by Jacob Lilley Architects
Ocean’s Edge, Jacob Lilley. Photo credit: Peter Vanderwarker 

Many describe their Martha’s Vineyard work with phrases such as “traditional farmhouse aesthetics with modern form,’’ “sailor meets farmer,’’ and “independent modernism.’’ A handful of homes, such as one on Chappaquiddick, stray away from the Vineyard’s architectural aesthetic and instead stress “high modern’’ style. An array of glass pavilions, dramatic cantilevers, and a sliding shutter system to defend against storms marks another contemporary classic home.

All but two of the new houses are constructed of wood. The exterior wall of the new Vineyard home is mostly red cedar, sometimes vertically applied. The spirit of the economical shingle still prevails in the homes. Some homes also feature steel framing, Vermont slate flooring, concrete foundations.

Martha's Vineyard New Island Homes book cover
Get your copy of Martha’s Vineyard New Island Homes

“Cedar shingles are ubiquitous in all construction eras on the island,” Morgan wrote. “The muted gray weathered shakes, along with gambrel roofs, porches, and white clapboards, offer a familiarity that reinforces the idyll of family vacations, days of tennis and sailing, and drinks on the deck watching the sun go down over the ocean. Agricultural structures such as barns and sheds inform many of the designs. Height restrictions, environmental considerations, and a dose of nostalgia are themes in a number of houses composed of series of human-scaled farm sheds. Barn-like configurations are ideal for housing multiple generations and also provide privacy and separateness for guests.”

Keith Moskow FAIA is founding principal of Moskow Linn Architects. The firm has a longstanding tradition of expanding the boundaries of conventional architecture practice through theoretical interventions, small-scale investigations, and writing. As firm principal, Moskow has won over 60 design awards including four commendations from AIA National and seventeen from the Boston Society of Architects. His work has appeared in the Boston GlobeNew York TimesArchitectureArchitecture RecordDwellMetropolisBoston Magazine, and numerous other publications. 

Moskow received a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2011, he was elected to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows in the category of design. In 2019 Keith was inducted into the New England Design Hall of Fame.

Martha's Vineyard new Island Homes

Martha’s Vineyard New Island Homes

Next, check out the MV Islander: The Governors Island Ferry That Never Sailed in NYC!