Modern Design and the Sexual Revolution

Virtual event

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Part Three of California Preservation Foundation's "Modernist Masters and Methods" five-part series.

Buildings provide the framework for our sexual lives and harbor our sexual memories. During the turbulent 20th century, progressive sexual mores manifested themselves in transitional architecture. This evening happy hour program invites three panelists to share their study of sex and architecture in the latter half of the 20th century. Author Richard Williams weaves a frank and humorous look at a period of social change that may change the way we observe designed structure in Sex and Buildings: Modern Architecture and the Sexual Revolution. We will also be joined by author, Christopher Bascom Rawlins, whose looks at a unique gay microcosm in New York - the “Palm Springs of the East” that included 1960s pavilions providing “refuge from a hostile world” post-Stonewall pre-AIDS where the architectural landscape of Fire Island featured “bacchanals of liberation” designed by architect, Horace Gifford.


Thursday, March 25, 2021
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm Pacific

Free, registration required

Special Guest

Liz Waytkus, Executive Director, Docomomo US. In her ten years at Docomomo US, Ms. Waytkus is responsible for the development of new programming including the annual Docomomo US National Symposium and the Modernism in America Awards. Ms. Waytkus manages Docomomo US’ advocacy efforts throughout the vast Docomomo US network and spear-headed efforts to save the Ambassador Grill and UN Plaza Hotel lobby. Ms. Waytkus received her Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Pratt Institute and previously worked in the non-profit cultural and educational fields for more than a decade.


Kelvin Dickinson is President of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation and graduated from the College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning at the University of Cincinnati in 1996. He has been a lifelong fan of Mr. Rudolph’s work ever since he was introduced to it by Peter Eisenman while in college. After moving to New York City, Kevin joined the Paul Rudolph Foundation in 2006 and became Co-Director from 2009-2010. In 2010, Kelvin left New York to assist in the opening of an architectural office in Doha, Qatar. In 2016 he returned to New York and joined the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation. He became the President of the foundation in May 2017.

Richard Williams, Author, Sex and Buildings: Modern Architecture and the Sexual Revolution. Richard J. Williams is Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, where he was all until recently head of the School of History of Art. His highly interdisciplinary work focuses on architecture and urban design, with particular interests in what happens to buildings after they have been built, as well as their visual representation. He has worked extensively on these questions in the USA and Brazil. His books include The Anxious City (2004), Brazil: Modern Architectures in History (2009), Sex and Buildings (2013), The Architecture of Art History (with Mark Crinson, 2018), and most recently, Why Cities Look the Way They Do (2019). He is currently writing an intellectual biography of the architectural critic and provocateur Reyner Banham.

Christopher Rawlins is an architect and a historian, with degrees in architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology and Princeton University. Christopher is the principal of Rawlins Design, an award-winning architecture and interiors firm focused on residential, retail, and historic preservation projects. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction, and is the founder of Pines Modern, a non-profit preservation initiative that also hosts guided tours of Fire Island’s modernist beach houses. Pines Modern won a Docomomo US Modernism in America Award in 2020, and Christopher’s design work is the subject of an upcoming profile in the New York Times T Magazine.