At just 1,310 feet (400 meters) across at its widest point, Fire Island, a barrier island to the south of Long Island in New York, may not seem like an ideal place to host a community. Nonetheless, the island is home to a number of small villages, whose seclusion and proximity to the ocean make them popular getaway locations. With its beach atmosphere (the community is only accessible by ferry) and its growing reputation from the 1960s onward as a safe space for the gay community, Fire Island Pines is one such popular summer destination. As the village grew in the post-war years, the care-free recreational lifestyle encouraged by Fire Island Pines' setting was an ideal proving ground for many of the ideals of mid-century modernist house design, with architects such as the prolific Horace Gifford—who designed 40 homes in Fire Island Pines alone—answering the call.
Sadly though, after a steep population decline in recent decades, many of the modernist homes in Fire Island Pines are now at risk, with owners unaware of the historical and architectural significance of their properties. In response to this, Christopher Rawlins, a principle at Rawlins Design and author of the book Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction, has created Pines Modern, a website dedicated to cataloging and disseminating information on the architectural heritage of Fire Island Pines.
Pines Modern catalogs 45 buildings in the small community, with each documented through photographs (both contemporary and from when the building was in its prime) drawings, and a short description available in both textual and audio formats. In the words of Chris Rawlins, the website "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."
Check out all of Fire Island Pines' impressive architectural heritage at Pines Modern here.