Chamberlain Cottage
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Architect Marcel Breuer
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Location Wayland, Massachusetts   map
Date 1940   timeline
Building Type house
 Construction System stone masonry base, wood siding above
Climate temperate
Context rural
Style Modern
Notes With Walter Gropius. Building as it stands now is substantially remodeled and expanded from original Breuer cottage.






Lower Plan Drawing

Upper Plan Drawing

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Discussion Chamberlain Cottage Commentary

"More important even than the extraordinary delicacy of this structure is the complete and final assimilation in it of the tradition of New England building to the demands of the new architecture. This cottage is an organic concept; its materials are no longer used self-consciously, in abstract patterns. They are used with the utmost facility and with a sure mastery of technique. Like some of the earlier houses, it is not a brittle product of industrialism. Its 'human-contact' surfaces are warm in color and soft in texture, fully satisfying the demands of 'human nature.'"

— Peter Blake. Marcel Breuer: Architect and Designer. p71-72.

"Breuer's understanding of American timber balloon frame constructed on a masonry base is intelligently exaggerated in this house, designed soon after his leaving Europe. The balloon frame is constructed as a truss, allowing cantilevering of the kitchen and 'ingle-nook' over the lower ground floor entrance, as well as the glazed porch at right angles to the kitchen.

— David Dunster. Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century Volume 1: Houses 1900-1944. p98.

The Creator's Words

"...That world of stone behind stone, of vistas, of weight and material, of large and small cubes, of long and short spans, of sunny and shady voids, of the whole horizon of buildings and cities: all that inanimate world is alive. It is as close to our affection as good friends, the family—right there in the center of emotional faith. It is important that we should not be disappointed in them, in our buildings and cities.

"They are alive, like people. They have also their cycles of vigor, strength, beauty, and perfection. They have also their struggle with age, with decline, with circulation troubles, with sagging muscles, with wrinkles. There is one difference though: they can be beautiful even in old age, even in ruins."

— Marcel Breuer. from Tician Papachristou. Marcel Breuer: New Buildings and Projects. p11.

Sources on Chamberlain Cottage

"Classic Home 046", by ArchitectureWeek, ArchitectureWeek No. 135, 2003.0219, pH1.

Peter Blake. Marcel Breuer, Architect and Designer. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1949. NA737.B68B55. discussion, p71-72. exterior facade photo of west side, p77, plate 140.

David Dunster. Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century, Volume 1: Houses 1900-1944. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1985. ISBN 0-8478-0642-1. LC 85-42945. NA680.D86 1985v.1. discussion, p98. — Available at

Sir Banister Fletcher. Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture. 18th ed., revised by J.C. Palmes. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975. ISBN 684-14207-4. NA200.F63. Mentioned, p1271. — The classic text of architectural history. Expanded edition available at

Tician Papachristou. Marcel Breuer: New Buildings and Projects. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970. NA737.B68P3 1970. LC 71-136743. discussion, p11.

William S. Saunders. Modern Architecture—Photographs by Ezra Stoller. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3816-2. exterior photo, p46. — A wonderful & inspiring book of beautiful photographs by the master of architectural photography, reissued in 1999! Get it while you can. Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Chamberlain Cottage


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