You can count on one hand the number of architects of national stature who’ve worked in Provincetown, with a few fingers left over. Having purchased a building by one of those architects (Walter Gropius of TAC) — the Murchison House at 2 Commercial Street — Clifford Schorer made the bold decision to bring in a leading contemporary firm, Hariri & Hariri of New York, to design the next house on the lot, 6 Pilgrims’ Landing.
The sisters Gisue Hariri and Mojgan Hariri, born in Iran and educated at Cornell, opened their practice in 1986. It would be difficult to ascribe any particular aesthetic to the firm, though the Provincetown house bears more than a passing resemblance to the sisters’ Sternbrauerei residential development in Salzburg, Austria.
It also seems to me an homage to its distinguished predecessor: a glass box framed in wood, with its main floor cantilevered over its basement floor and a clerestory level above.
Hariri & Hariri are not “background” architects. Their house is in one sense a welcome — and needed — breath of pure oxygen, a declaration that there is room in modern Provincetown for more than Ye Olde Cape Codde shingles-and-shutters. On the other hand, the bold form of the building has led some to worry that it overpowers the vista of Gull Hill from the breakwater and overshadows what ought to be the main architectural event: Gropius’s quieter and more subtle Murchison House.
These are not unwarranted concerns. But with 6 Pilgrims’ Landing still under construction in 2013, it’s probably too early to say for sure. After the wood of the new house weathers and the landscaping around it matures, it may make for a complementary bookend, speaking to the changes in residential design in the half-century since the Murchison House, omega to TAC’s alpha. • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2013-11-01