An architect's tour of Fire Island's modern beach houses offers an exclusive look inside works by Horace Gifford, Harry Bates, and Don Page.
While Long Island's south shore is well known for its stunning beaches, one seaside isle boasts another claim to fame. Fire Island—a quaint and quirky beach haven where residents travel with Radio Flyers rather than cars—has been a living trove of modern architecture since the 1960s, when architects like Horace Gifford redefined the notion of the beach house with their wood-and-glass creations. More than simple architectural statements, these houses marked a cultural sea change, drawing a who's who of New York and Hollywood elite with their adventurous designs and modest proportions, specifically in the Fire Island Pines community.
This month, architect Christopher Rawlins, author of Fire Island Modernist, offers design aficionados exclusive access to some of the hamlet's most stunning properties with Mid-Century Masterpieces: A Tour of Fire Island Pines. The tours take place over the course of two weekends, August 15–16 and August 22–23, and space is limited. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Pines Modern, a forthcoming website and app that aims to "make Fire Island’s utopian architecture accessible to all."
Before heading out east to see the homes yourself, discover five houses keeping Fire Island's modernist mood alive.
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