Horace Gifford

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Horace Gifford
Horace gifford portrait.jpg
Gifford circa 1960
Born 1932
Vero Beach, Florida
Died 1992 (aged 59–60)
Occupation Architect
Years active 1960 - 1985

Horace Gifford (1932 – 1992) was a celebrated beach house architect of the Sixties, Seventies and early Eighties. He led the modernist transformation of New York's Fire Island, in a career that produced seventy homes across Fire Island and thirty more further afield. These beach houses were a lesson in sustainable design before green building was in vogue. They are generally modest in size, artfully wedded to their sites and wrought in now-weathered wood and glass. Though critically praised and published during his lifetime, Horace Gifford is now an obscure figure outside of the small coastal communities where he focused his efforts. Gifford died in 1992 after a long battle with AIDS.

The injustice of Horace Gifford's early death was compounded by the fact that his important contribution to American domestic architecture of the 1960's and 70's has been overlooked by history.

— Paul Goldberger, Architecture critic for Vanity Fair and author of Why Architecture Matters

In 2013, practicing Architect and writer Christopher Rawlins published a book commemorating Gifford's contribution to Fire Island and the modern architecture movement with his book entitled Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction.

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.

— Excerpt from Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction by Christopher Rawlins

Gifford 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 of Julius Shulman: Palm Springs and Oscar Niemayer Houses


External links[edit]

  • "DC Hillier's MCM Daily - Horace Gifford". Mcmdaily.com. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  • "Fire Island Modernist Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction | ARTBOOK 9781938922091". Artbook.com. 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  • "Moderism Magazine" (PDF). Horacegifford.org. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  • "The Horace Gifford Project". Horacegifford.org. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  • Christopher Bascom Rawlins; Horace Gifford; Alastair Gordon. "Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction". Amazon.com. ISBN 9781938922091. Retrieved 2016-01-08.