Harry Bates, Modernist Architect, Dies at 96

From the dunes of Fireplace Island to bucolic drives by means of the Hamptons, architect Harry Bates, who handed away this 7 days at the age of 95, still left an indelible mark on Very long Island. Identified for his modernist properties produced from community components, Bates commenced out in the subject by building summer months escapes for New York promotion executives in the 1960s and ’70s. He later joined forces with style and design lover, Paul Masi—45 years his junior—and together they ongoing to condition the area’s architecture with their heat minimalist design and style.

“He was a rock star architect for midcentury summer months getaways that are even now dotted all over the Hamptons,” shares Interior Layout editor in main Cindy Allen. Recalling her encounter filming a documentary with Bates next his 2013 induction into the magazine’s Hall of Fame, Allen adds: “It was surreal to be strolling as a result of these modern day treasures with the master himself, captivated by all his pleasant stories of the lots of ad execs he developed for (consider Madmen!).”

Harry Bates. Photography courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects.

While Bates passed absent in Fernandina Seaside, Florida, where he most lately lived, he constructed his existence and career back again east. The very first residence he made, created from tough cut Redwood “fresh off the tree,” as he the moment explained to Allen, solidified his solution to using resources that mirrored the native landscape, mixing in though standing out.

But his profession in architecture came about instead serendipitously. Born in 1927 in Lake City, Florida, Bates, whose father was a health practitioner, attended health-related school only to comprehend that it wasn’t the proper healthy. A spouse and children good friend suggested he grow to be an architect, sealing his destiny. Just after acquiring a Bachelor of Architecture from North Carolina Point out College Higher education of Style and design, he went on to get the job done with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and then opened a private follow in New York City, which he relocated to Southampton in 1980.


Just take a appear at Interior Style and design‘s Hall of Fame documentary showcasing Harry Bates under.


In the mid-90s, Bates embarked on new era in his vocation when he met the thoughtful and formidable 25-calendar year-outdated architect, Paul Masi. Masi, who put in his childhood summers in Montauk, joined the agency Bates launched in 1998, now regarded as Bates Masi + Architects. In their 20-in addition yr partnership, Bates and Masi formed some of Extended Island’s most scenic locales, transforming websites these kinds of as a peach farm in East Hampton and a historic Methodist church in Sag Harbor into personal properties. Extra a short while ago, the duo relocated the firm’s place of work from Sag Harbor to a mild-filled, sustainable structure they intended in East Hampton, shortening the commute time for Bates who lived in the region.

A multi-year winner of Interior Design‘s Very best of Calendar year awards as properly as a lot more than 200 other design and style accolades, the firm’s projects include things like homes, big and compact, as nicely as colleges, places of work, hotels, dining establishments, and retail layouts, not to point out furniture. The expansive overall body of work displays Bates’ far more than 50-calendar year occupation and showcases his determination to straightforward still stylish modernist design and style.

“Ego was under no circumstances a component of Harry’s do the job, yet he was passionate and rigorous about his styles,” recalls Masi. “This balance permitted him to transcend many years of style movements.”

As substantially as Bates will be remembered for his architecture, close friends and colleagues also remember his light character, modest persona, and really like of Lengthy Island, which he considered “one of the most attractive places on earth.” “Harry was a gentleman who was delicate with equally folks and environments,” shares Masi. “Whether with a customer or close friend, he was selfless and giving. Harry excelled at collaborating with consumers and colleagues, which allowed him to stand out as a definitely fantastic designer.”

The enthusiasm Bates had for his operate, and the persons and communities he designed for, emanated from each element. As Masi remembers, Bates often reported: “If we are not obtaining enjoyment then why are we executing this?”

“Filming Harry for our Hall of Fame documentary was an remarkable memory I will generally cherish,” Allen provides. “We even toured an further distinctive house, to me individually, mainly because my hubby and I nearly purchased a Harry Bates authentic! Ahhhhh, the a single that got away, but I have the everlasting memory of figuring out Harry himself!”

Bates is survived by two nieces and predeceased by his sister, Fairfax Bates Ralston, who died in 2008, as well as his associate, Jack Coar, an inside designer.

A beach house by Bates Masi + Architects with an meditative pool and a treelined landscape
Bates Masi + Architects received a 2021 Interior Design and style Greatest of Year Award for the seaside home group. Images courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects.
Paul Masi and Harry Bates standing in a field of wheat.
Paul Masi and Harry Bates. Pictures courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects.
A residence in Fire Island made from fresh cut wood in the form of a tree house.
Tree Home, developed in 1967 on Hearth Island by Bates. At the time, his company was named Bates Architecture. Pictures courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects.
Madsen, an airy home completed in 1969 on Fire Island by Harry Bates.
Madsen, an ethereal dwelling concluded in 1969 on Fire Island by Bates. Pictures courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects.