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Touring the Modern Architecture of Fire Island's Pines

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Ever since architect Christopher Bascom Rawlins finished Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction (Metropolis Books/Gordon de Vries Studio, 2013) he has been wondering what to do with the wealth of material he accumulated tracing the career of Gifford, the designer of more than 60 houses on Fire Island, as well as contemporaries like Harry Bates, Earl Combs, Arthur Erickson and Andrew Geller. He has channeled some of his energy into walking tours of the Pines, home of the greatest concentration of modern architecture on the island. I was lucky enough to attend one on Saturday, Instagramming along the way. Rawlins is using the tours to raise funds for Pines Modern, an under-construction website that will allow visitors to lead their own tours, calling up archival photographs and drawings at the touch of an app while standing on Ocean, Snapper, or Tarpon Walk. Rawlins hopes the site will raise awareness of the mid-century masterpieces among the neo-modern McMansions in the Pines, and make sure more Giffords aren't resurfaced beyond recognition.

Kodak House, Horace Gifford, the Pines #fireisland You wouldn't believe how tiny this is.

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TV House, Horace Gifford, the Pines #fireisland

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Guest house, Shore Walk, Harry Bates, the Pines #fireisland #marimekko

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Frank House, Andrew Geller, with #georgenelson clock #fireisland @hermanmiller

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Last stop: Bonaguidi House II, Horace Gifford, the Pines #fireisland

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Gifford also designed six houses in Seaview, near the center of Fire Island, and historically the island's Jewish community. On another day I went searching for those, trying to use what I learned of Gifford's style to spot them. I found the Rosenthal House, featured in Rawlins's book, and still owned by the original clients. Rawlins recently worked with them on some updates, including their handsome, lozenge-shaped trash housing.

This is how most of them look from the pubic way. #horacegifford #fireisland

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The most beautiful curving entrance path #horacegifford #fireisland

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This house was built for Warren Rubin, founder of Workbench. Doesn't it look like their furniture?


Maybe #horacegifford #fireisland

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I'd love to know who designed this one, in Ocean Bay Park adjacent to Seaview.

I love this one. #fireisland

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· Creating the 'Beach Modernism' of Fire Island's Famous Pines [Curbed]
· Critical Eye archive [Curbed]