Calendar of Events

Wed 06.26.2013

Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction Book Talk


When: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26

Where: Offsite Committee Events   

DORMA Design Center | 1040 Avenue of the Americas (at 39th Street), 22nd Floor NY, NY 10018

Author Christopher Rawlins will present a talk based upon his newly released book Fire Island Modernist, the first book to highlight the seductive seaside houses designed by Horace Gifford, a largely forgotten architect who died of AIDS in 1992. After years of research, author Christopher Rawlins has pieced together the life and career of this elusive and complex figure—a charismatic charmer who suffered from depression and attended business meetings in a Speedo. As the 1960s’ became the “sixties,” Gifford executed a remarkable series of beach houses that transformed the terrain and culture of New York’s Fire Island from a sleepy bohemian backwater to a wildly permissive “oasis of free love.” Growing up on the beaches of Florida, Horace Gifford forged a deep connection with coastal landscapes. Pairing this well of sensitivity with improvisations on modernist themes, Gifford perfected a hedonistic modernism in cedar and glass, as attuned to natural landscapes as it was to our animal natures. Gifford's serene early Sixties pavilions provided refuge from a hostile world, while his exuberant post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS masterpieces orchestrated bacchanals of liberation. Blending cultural and architectural history, Fire Island Modernist ponders a fascinating era through the story of an architect whose life, work, and colorful milieu trace the arc of a lost generation that still resonates with artistic and cultural import.

Reception to follow. Books will be available for sale and signing by the author.

Christopher Rawlins
is an architect and the founder of Rawlins Design, a New York-based practice whose projects include new beach houses, midcentury modernist beach house restorations, and retail environments across North America, Europe and Asia. He majored in Architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology, studied abroad for a year in Paris, and obtained his Master's degree from Princeton University. Christopher has taught at Lehigh University and his work has been published in The New York Times, Wallpaper, Interior Design, Metropolis, Modernism, and Monocle. Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction is his first book.

Organized by: AIANY Historic Buildings Committee

Co-sponsored by: AIANY Interiors Committee

Price: Free for AIA members; $10 for non-members

Online Registration is now closed but you can still register at the door.


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