Mid-Century Masterpieces: A Tour of Fire Island Pines
August 23, 2015
Curated and guided by Christopher Rawlins, "Mid-Century Masterpieces" is a guided tour of mid-century homes that exemplify the best of vintage Pines architecture. At least five homes will be opened to the public each day. A reception at a featured home concludes each tour. Attendees receive a museum-quality catalog on the day of the tour. In addition to the interior tours noted below, this walking tour of the Pines will pause outside of notable structures.
The Pines is a community that looks and lives like no other. After modest beginnings in the 1950s, a talented roster of architects emerged to create an architecture as distinctive as its inhabitants. Harry Bates, Earl Combs, and the prolific Horace Gifford lived and worked in the Pines. Their homes shared the spotlight with inspired cameos by Arthur Erickson, Andrew Geller, Marcel Bretos, James McCloud, and Don Page. While each pursued different forms, all shared the belief that life at the beach should be carefree as well as maintenance-free. Naturally-weathering cedar and redwood pavilions in a riot of shapes established our signature architecture. Yet for all of their sculptural purity, these homes offered a relaxed and sensual ambience that resonated with weekenders attired in nothing more than a bikini and Bain de Soleil. The Stonewall generation artfully and gently colonized this fragile landscape. They realized that, like most beautiful things, the Pines is an easily marred countenance. Today, when confronted by an aggressive fence, or a steroidally bloated house, or a renovation that obliterates the finer aspects of the original, I worry that the Pines has lost its way. This guided tour of mid-century homes is a call to action that aims to unlock our history, rethink our priorities, and honor the homeowners who have maintained the integrity of their vintage properties.
Christopher Rawlins is a writer, an architect, and the principal of Rawlins Design, an architecture and interiors firm whose projects include new beach houses, mid-century modernist restorations, lofts, and retail environments in North America, Europe, and Asia. In 2013, he published Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction, currently in its second printing.
This exclusive event will fund Pines Modern, a website/app to make the architecture of the Pines available to all.
Four tour dates:
Saturday August 15
Sunday August 16
Saturday August 22
Sunday August 23
Tours begin at 2:15 PM sharp in the Pines Harbor and extend through about 6:00 PM.
Deviations from the printed schedule of houses are possible. Attendees should wear comfortable shoes and sun protection. Due to the age of the buildings and the nature of the boardwalks, handicapped accessibility is very limited.