ARCHITECTURE MONOGRAPHS

PUBLISHER
METROPOLIS BOOKS/GORDON DE VRIES STUDIO

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 9 x 12 in. / 204 pgs / 140 color / 100 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
PUB DATE 5/30/2013
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. EXCLUSIVE
CATALOG: SPRING 2013 p. 32   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781938922091 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $60.00 CDN $60.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

"Every once in a great while, there is a book that is immediately hailed as so essential one wonders not so much why it was never done before but how we managed to get by without it. If that sounds overly effusive, buy, borrow or steal Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction and, after reading -- no, devouring it -- get back to me." -- Steve Weinstein, Edge

“The injustice of Horace Gifford’s early death was compounded by the fact that his important contribution to American domestic architecture of the 1960s and ’70s has been overlooked by history. No one can bring Gifford back, but Rawlins emphatically corrects the second injustice by telling Gifford’s story in this important book, at once a work of architectural and social history.” – Paul Goldberger, architecture critic, Vanity Fair, and author, Why Architecture Matters

“Rawlins deftly melds biography, architectural criticism, and social history to provide a rich portrait of Horace Gifford and a vivid explanation of how the architect’s design aesthetic contributed to the formation of modern gay culture. This is a meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated volume that deserves a very wide audience.” – Charles Kaiser, author, The Gay Metropolis

“Finally, a treatise on one of the most important, if overlooked, voices in modern domestic architecture. It is thoughtful and provocative, balancing Gifford’s formal proclivities with his social ones. And it couldn’t be better timed. Gifford’s architecture is simple yet rich. In short, it is a model for the future: sustainable, aspirational, and fun.” – Charles Renfro, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

“The sophistication, spaciousness, and graciousness of Gifford’s houses of the 1960s and ’70s are a revelation.” – Terence Riley, architect and curator

“Rawlins’s excellent book follows Gifford’s exploration of modernism’s possibilities, a journey that was both deeply personal and a reflection of his times. He is proof that American modernism wasn’t a single austere style after all; it gave a public voice to a surprising range of communities and ideas.” – Alan Hess, author, Julius Shulman: Palm Springs and Oscar Niemeyer Houses

“Here is the moving and enlightening story of an unknown chapter of modernism that flourished on Fire Island at midcentury, especially in the gay community of Fire Island Pines. Rawlins’s compelling account weaves the story of the people and the place with the houses, revealing the many ways in which they were intertwined, and elevates Gifford to his rightful place in the pantheon of great American modernists.” – Andrea Truppin, editor-in-chief, Modernism magazine

“Horace Gifford, the subject of this gorgeous book, was taken by the plague, like so many. But Rawlins’s detailed research and beautiful writing resurrects the remarkable life and immense talent of an architect who once told a client, ‘You will now have twenty closets to come out of.’ A great read, beautifully published.” – Sean Strub, activist and founder, POZ magazine

“Tracing Horace Gifford’s path from the beaches of Florida to those of Fire Island, juxtaposing gay sexual liberation with ecological sensibilities, this book is a wide-ranging cultural history. Rawlins conveys the poignancy of Gifford’s life and the exuberant yet simple delight of his architecture.” – Gwendolyn Wright, professor of architecture, Columbia University; author, USA: Modern Architectures in History; and co-host, History Detectives

  

METROPOLIS BOOKS/GORDON DE VRIES STUDIO

Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction

Published by Metropolis Books/Gordon de Vries Studio
Foreword by Alastair Gordon. Text by Christopher Bascom Rawlins.

Featured image is reproduced from <I>Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction</I>.As the 1960s became The Sixties, architect Horace Gifford executed a remarkable series of beach houses that transformed the terrain and culture of New York’s Fire Island. Growing up on the beaches of Florida, Gifford forged a deep connection with coastal landscapes. Pairing this sensitivity with jazzy improvisations on modernist themes, he perfected a sustainable modernism in cedar and glass that was as attuned to natural landscapes as to our animal natures. Gifford’s serene 1960s pavilions provided refuge from a hostile world, while his exuberant post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS masterpieces orchestrated bacchanals of liberation. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift once spurned Hollywood limos for the rustic charm of Fire Island’s boardwalks. Truman Capote wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s here. Diane von Furstenburg showed off her latest wrap dresses to an audience that included Halston, Giorgio Sant’ Angelo, Calvin Klein and Geoffrey Beene. Today, such a roster evokes the aloof, gated compounds of the Hamptons or Malibu. But these celebrities lived in modestly scaled homes alongside middle-class vacationers, all with equal access to Fire Island’s natural beauty. Blending cultural and architectural history, Fire Island Modernist ponders a fascinating era through an overlooked architect whose life, work and colorful milieu trace the operatic arc of a lost generation, and still resonate with artistic and historical import.

Featured image is reproduced from Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Architectural Record

Clifford Pearson

Both a cultural history and an architectural mediation, Fire Island Modernist captures the look, feel and sensation of gay society in the 1960s and '70s that flourished on the sandy shores and shifting dunes of the 31-mile barrier island of its title... Rawlins's clear graceful prose has just the right tone and style for his subject, and his selection of photographs, drawings, and illustrations brings Gifford's times back to life... Photographs of handsome young men cavorting on the beach ad striking fashionable poses by the pool add to the book's glamourous ambience. As Alistair Gordon states in his foreword, Gifford's houses 'expressed the longings of a culture that had transformed Fire Island into a free-fire zone of social and sexual discovery.

Slate.com

Bryan Lowder

In "Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction," Christopher Rawlins presents an insightful and gorgeously illustrated account of the luminous midcentury modern vacation homes that architect Horace Gifford built during the 1960s and '70s in Fire Island's gay enclaves. But this beautiful book, published in May by Metropolis Books and Gordon de Vries Studio, contains more than blueprints: Rawlins fluidly merges a cultural history of New York's gay community with Gifford's personal biography and work, showing how his seductive designs were deeply connected to the newfound freedoms he and his clients enjoyed out on the beach.

New York Magazine

Carl Swanson

In those days, the Pines was seen as an “untainted address,” observes Christopher Rawlins in Fire Island Modernist, his new book about Horace Gifford, who designed just about one in ten houses there. Gifford was a strapping idealist, and his houses were communal, economical, and exhibitionistic: the bedrooms small, the central areas open, with everything wooden or glass (he “essentially treated all surfaces like floors,” Rawlins writes).

The New York Times, Styles Section

Guy Trebay

Throughout the late ’60s and into the ’70s, men like Mr. Gifford, Harry Bates, Earl Combs, Arthur Erickson, Andrew Geller and James McCloud — not all of them gay — were kept busy erecting elegant, stark structures on this austerely beautiful and fragile barrier island, houses of naturally weathering cedar, redwood pavilions set back from the boardwalk, their broad windows serving as prosceniums across which backlighted players in Speedos, or else nothing, played out a specific variant of the theater of late 20th century gay life.

OUT Magazine

Andrew Belonsky

Fire Island wouldn’t be the idyllic haven we know today if it weren’t for Horace Gifford, a young, often overlooked architect from Florida who designed 78 stunning beach houses off its boardwalks between 1961 and 1980. In Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction (Metropolis Books), a new monograph bursting with inspiring drawings and vintage photographs, author and architect Christopher Rawlins remembers this precocious (and handsome) talent who turned the south shores of Long Island into a modernist’s dream.

Pin-Up Magazine

Pierre Alexandre De Looz

The first-ever account of the late Horace Gifford's architectural legacy on the infamous New York pleasure retreat reminds us that history is only ever what we make of it, as personal as it may be, or in this case, queer. Remembered by some for his impulsive ways, irresistible surfer looks, and porn-star appendage, Gifford's largely forgotten work reemerges as a serious voice in tune with post-war grandees like Louis Kahn and Paul Rudolph. Lovers of queer history will thank author Christopher Rawlins for detailing Gifford's beach homes on the barrier island alongside a social narrativie gilded by names like Calvin Klein, Oscar Wilde, and the Mattachine Society. As the sleepy enclave does sex, drugs, and disco, Rawlins covers all ground, from political punches to Gifford's liberated maxi-couches and make-out lofts. It's a sincere retelling which makes a courageous monument of an archive rescued from the rear of a suburban garage.

SURFACE

Jordan Kushins

Though the thin spit of land off Long Island's coast has long been known as a summer getaway, Fire Island became a truly notable retreat when Horace Gifford brought his serene sensibility to its sandy shores in the '60s. Pictures of the Florida-born architect's modern cedar-and-glass bungalows support an engaging narrative worthy of the site's distinctively colorful heritage.

Wallpaper* Magazine

Fred Bernstein

Horace Gifford, the designer of a series of modest but highly influential beach houses in Fire Island Pines, a small town on a spit of land some 50 miles east of New York City, was known for his irreverence... Gifford's houses... were emblematic of a time when even clients as rich as Calvin Klein were weekend minimalists

Edge on the Net

Steve Weinstein

Every once in a great while, there is a book that is immediately hailed as so essential one wonders not so much why it has never done before but how we managed to get by without it. If that sounds overly effusive, buy, borrow or steal Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction and, after reading - no devouring it - get back to me.

BBC NEWS

Leigh Paterson

Fire Island Modernist traces 1960s gay culture throught art and architecture.

Edge

Steve Weinstein

Every once in a great while, there is a book that is immediately hailed as so essential one wonders not so much why it was never done before but how we managed to get by without it. If that sounds overly effusive, buy, borrow or steal Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction and, after reading -- no, devouring it -- get back to me.

Mod

Alastair Gordon

Rawlins book, full of gorgeous photographs drawings, illustrates Kahn's influence on Gifford. His understanding of servant and served spaces, and monumental form is beautifully documented.

Salinger asked if we could grow-up, retain our optimism and not be considered naive. Given that Rawlin's book is as much social commentary as it is biogrpahy and architctural history, it asks questions regarding culture while explaining the cultural influences on the architect: can you understand and accept gay culture? Can you see the unique beauty of this culture? Can you see aspirations in the architecture? Can you do it while it evolves, on its own terms? Give this beautiful and thoughtful book, I remain optimistic.

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

MIRANDA DI CARCACI | DATE 6/18/2013

PIN-UP Launches 'Fire Island Modernist' at The Standard Highline

PIN-UP Launches 'Fire Island Modernism' at The Standard HighlineOn May 6th, a discussion about Fire Island Modernism and the legacy of architect Horace Gifford took place at the Standard High Line. The talk featured Fire Island Modernist author Chris Rawlins, architect Charles Renfro, New Museum Deputy Director Karen Wong, architect Matthias Hollwich and designer Rafael de Cardenas, and was moderated by PIN-UP editor Felix Burrichter. The audience witnessed a pre-AIDS world resurrected before them, in both the pictures of Gifford’s houses and the sun-kissed Polaroids taken by Tom Bianchi during the same era. The discussion ranged from gay sexual liberation to ecological sensibilities, revealing the significance of these houses to be far beyond their primary function as dwellings.
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 7/30/2013

BBC Video: Fire Island Modernist Traces 1960s Gay Culture through Art and Architecture

BBC Video: Fire Island Modernist Traces 1960s Gay Culture through Art and Architecture
This week on The BBC Magazine Online, Leigh Paterson meets with Fire Island Modernist author Christopher Rawlins (on Fire Island) to find out how the gay community and the homes they lived in reflected a changing culture in 1960s America.
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 5/24/2013

The New York Times' Guy Trebay Reviews Two New Books on the Golden Era of Fire Island Pines

The New York Times' Guy Trebay Reviews Two New Books on the Golden Era of Fire Island Pines
In today's New York Times, Guy Trebay treats two essential new books on Fire Island Pines culture to a glowing review: Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction, published by Metropolis Books; and Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines, published by Damiani. Read the full review here!
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 5/24/2013

Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction

Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of SeductionFeatured image is the living room of Sloan House in Fire Island Pines, designed by architect Horace Gifford in 1972. Reproduced from this summer's must-have architecture monograph, Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction, published by Metropolis Books & Gordon de Vries Studio, "the Sloan residence was the consummate example of Gifford's mature period," according to author Christopher Rawlins. "Norton and Marlo Sloan - one of many heterosexual couples who embraced the freewheeling culture of the Pines - commissioned a luxurious home whose smooth volumes appeared to have washed up on their site. Although any physical resemblance to Louis Kahn's work had receded, it still bore his 'order of the castle,' in which complex ancillary rooms surround a rectangular central space and endow the facade with a rippled presence. Curved spaces extended, cloverlike, from a lofty living room animated by the painterly slash of a diagonal stairway. Mirrors created slivers of light above the fireplace. Positioned opposite full-height expanse of glass, a mirrored wall brought the ocean view to both sides of the space. A leather ottoman bridged the conversation pit. Outside, a lazy-Susan lounge rotated to catch the best rays for the sun-worshipping Marlo Sloan. Upstairs, a DeStijl-like composition of bunk beds housed the Sloans' four young children.
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Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction

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