Advance Praise for Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction

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

– Terence Riley, architect and curator

“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

“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