Glass House Readings

Glass House Readings is a new program that brings notable authors and intellectuals to the Glass House to read from a new work. Visitors will walk the site with the guest author and enjoy a reading and discussion session during a light reception. Glass House Readings is presented in partnership with the New Canaan Library.


Thursday, July 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m: Christopher Rawlins will discuss the Modernist architecture of Fire Island and the construction of gay domestic space as explored in his new book Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction

Christopher Rawlins is an architect, a writer, and principal of Rawlins Design, a New York-based  architecture and interiors firm whose projects include new beach houses and midcentury modernist restorations, as well as retail environments in North America, Europe, and Asia. His work has been published in Interior Design, Metropolis, the New York Times, Wallpaper*, and Modernism. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Princeton University. Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction is his first book. Photo by Megan Greenlee.

About Fire Island Modernist
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. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift once spurned Hollywood limos for the rustic charm of Fire Island's boardwalks. Truman Capote wrote Breakfast at Tiffany's here. Diane von Furstenburg showed off her latest wrap dresses to an audience that included Halston, Giorgio Sant' Angelo, Calvin Klein and Geoffrey Beene. Today, such a roster evokes the aloof, gated compounds of the Hamptons or Malibu. But these celebrities lived in modestly scaled homes alongside middle-class vacationers, all with equal access to Fire Island's natural beauty. Blending cultural and architectural history, Fire Island Modernist ponders a fascinating era through an overlooked architect whose life, work and colorful milieu trace the operatic arc of a lost generation, and still resonate with artistic and historical import.

Sunday, September 15, 3:30-5:30 p.m: Daniel Mendelsohn will read from his forthcoming book, An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and an Epic

Daniel Mendelsohn is the author of the international bestseller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, and an award-winning critic, essayist, and translator. Since 1991 his essays on books, movies, theater, and television have appeared regularly in numerous national publications, most frequently the New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. His awards include two National Book Critics Circle Prizes (for The Lost and for book reviewing), the National Jewish Book Award, the Prix Médicis in France, and the George Jean Nathan Prize for Drama Criticism. His latest collection of essays, Waiting for the Barbarians, was nominated for an NBCC Award in Criticism.

Sunday, October 27, 3:30-5:30 p.m.: Phyllis Lambert + Mark Lamster
Phyllis Lambert will read from her new book, Building Seagram
Ticket price includes admission and a signed copy of Building Seagram.

Architect, photographer, lecturer, historian and critic of architecture and urbanism, Phyllis Lambert is Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal. Lambert first made architectural history as the Director of Planning of the Seagram Building in New York (1954-58). She is recognized internationally for her contribution in advancing contemporary architecture, together with for her concern for the social issues of urban conservation and the role of architecture in the public realm. Lambert has pioneered and contributed to publications on photography and architecture, architecture and landscape, conservation, and the urban history of Montreal. Recently published, Building Seagram is a cultural history of architecture, art, urban regulations and real estate, as well as conservation and stewardship in New York City, 1950-2000.

Photo: Philip Johnson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Phyllis Lambert in front of an image of the model for the Seagram building, New York, 1955. Gelatin silver print, 71/2 × 9⅜ in. Photographer unknown.
Fonds Phyllis Lambert, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal. © United Press International.

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and associate professor in the architecture school at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is currently at work on a biography of Philip Johnson, to be published by Little Brown. A contributing editor to Architectural Review and Design Observer, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many national magazines.

For more than a decade, Lamster served as an editor at Princeton Architectural Press, in New York. Prior to that, he was an editor at George Braziller, the distinguished publisher of illustrated books. He is the author of numerous books, including Master of Shadows (2009), a political biography of the painter Peter Paul Rubens, and Spalding's World Tour (2006), the story of a group of all-star baseball players who circled the globe in the 19th century. His research papers from that book are available at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown. He holds degrees from Johns Hopkins and Tufts universities.

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