Citation for Grassroots Initiative
A Special Citation for Grassroots Initiative is given for Pines Modern, a multi-faceted project led by architect Christopher Rawlins. Until recently, Fire Island Pines was only partially understood in cultural terms and entirely forgotten as a site of architectural experimentation. This changed dramatically in 2013 with the publication of Rawlins’ book Fire Island Modernist, which told the story of architect Horace Gifford, pairing social history of the LGBTQ community with the architectural history of the area. Rawlins established Pines Modern in 2016 to expand on this story, encompassing the entire midcentury arc of Fire Island Pines. The centerpiece is a streamlined website that currently features sixty-three midcentury homes. The website is optimized for personal walking tours with audio commentaries to accompany its imagery, interweaving stories of their architects and equally colorful patrons. One newly researched home is added each month, with a “house of the week” featured on social media. Rawlins also leads popular biennial Pines Modern House Tours, the proceeds of which fund professional photography, archival storage, drum scanning of vintage slides and website development. Pines Modern’s affiliated architecture firm, Rawlins Design, has also carried out sensitive restorations of several homes in the community.
“Pines Modern fills a gap in connecting to the history of this small but significant community.”
-Alan Hess, 2020 Jury member
“It is a model for how grassroots projects can be sustainable without corporate or academic support.”
Christopher Rawlins and Rafael Kalinoski