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Architect: HORACE GIFFORD, 1968.


The pedestrian boardwalks of the Pines created spatial intimacy between home-dwellers and passers-by that invited socializing, or more. After all, the Pines was a place to meet like-minded people, a place to marvel, as journalist Albert Goldman put it, at “the remarkable shorting out of the barriers to interpersonal communication. Cruising along at sunset, with a glass in one hand and a modest pitcher of martinis in the other, you find yourself far more socially desirable than you ever realized.” As pretenses fell away from the Pines in the late Sixties, Gifford began to rotate glass walls into public view, fashioning voyeuristic vistas from within and without.


Lawrence Bonaguidi, a prominent attorney, purchased a large lot in the Pines along a well-trafficked boardwalk. Gifford first organized its horizontal surfaces in intricate counterpoint with the ground plane, then folded the roofline into a series of nested cubes. The architect described the house as a series of spaces which telescoped into the landscape, and the metaphor hints at the atmosphere in the Pines at the time. Gifford even commissioned a “peephole” view of the house, an image that seems to announce an imminent indiscretion. The architect’s highest ceiling to date imbued the living room with a grandeur that was complemented by a bright red conversation pit.


Hovering decks eddied around each side of the house, evoking the waters of the Great South Bay nearby. Unshorn tree trunks, set back in shadow from the edges, supported these decks to enhance the illusion of weightlessness.


A separate guest house with a raked roofline anchored the rear edge of the site.


This home is featured in Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction.


Photos: Louis Reens. Elevation: Christopher Rawlins. Magazine photos: Architekture und Kultwiertes/Beyda U. Belden, Sketch and red sofa close-up: Horace Gifford courtesy Christopher Rawlins.

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