Gil Schafer, fellow Board member of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, incredible architect and friend, has just released his first book, THE GREAT AMERICAN HOUSE. We have seen and admired Gil’s projects published in the shelter magazines for years and eagerly awaited a view into his full portfolio of American historic and classical houses. Gil’s great success comes from two important personal characteristics; he is an exceptional listener and he is wonderful collaborator. While a client may express the desire to live in a traditional setting, Gil is able to suggest alternative layouts to accommodate a more modern lifestyle. He will certainly give the house its appropriate traditional architectural details and materials but readjust the more formal and restricted layout to one that is more open and family friendly.
Gil was drawn to architecture through an exposure to many different kinds of houses from early childhood onward. A pink classical Georgia farm house lived in by his grandmother most significantly influenced his sense of style. It, like her and now him, was dignified, stylish, and understated. He understands that classical architecture with detailed moldings and harmonious proportions subtlety influence the way one feels about a house. Creating a sense of place, defining the relationship between the house and its surrounding terrain, and building in warmth and charm transforms good architecture into a great home.
Gil not only designs new houses but has had the opportunity to restore two very significant historic properties (and I’m sure there are other restorations that I don’t know about). He is respectful of the intentions of architects like Charles Platt, and takes great pains to bring the spirit of the original design to the project. While the house may change significantly with rooms added and subtracted, the vocabulary of the architect’s sensibility remains evident. In the 21st century clients request eat-in kitchens, TV’s and other electronics, bathrooms, of course, and a level of comfort not even imagined when the original house was constructed. Gil Schafer Architects skillfully and with extraordinary discipline is able to break the barriers between formal and informal creating living spaces that are family friendly yet elegant and understated.
And finally, Gil Schafer firmly believes that decorators and landscape designers influence the success of an architects work. And that success, according to Schafer, is a “home” for the creation of memories. The GREAT AMERICAN HOUSE looks at history for inspiration and helps us understand how our traditions influence the future.
Gil Schafer lll
G.P. Schafer Architect, PLLC
270 Lafayette Street, Suite 1302
New York, NY 10012