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Modernism Week’s Fall Weekend Preview…October 10th – 13th

Modernism Week’s Fall Weekend Preview…October 10th – 13th
Kaufmann House

Kaufmann House

Modernism Week’s Fall Weekend Preview…October 10th – 13th

Did you know that Architectural modernists flourished  in the Coachella Valley with commissions from celebrities Post World War 2? 

Inventive architects designed unique vacation houses, such as steel houses with prefabricated panels and folding roofs, a glass-and-steel house in a boulder-strewn landscape, and even a carousel house that turned to avoid the sun’s glare.   

In 1946 Richard Neutra designed the Kaufmann House located in Palm Springs. It was one of the last domestic projects conducted by Neutra, but it is also arguably one of his most famous homes.  

A modernist classic, this mostly glass residence incorporated the latest technological advances in building materials, using natural lighting and floating planes and flowing space for proportion and detail.

Albert Frey is another prolific American architect who established a style of modern architecture centered on Palm Springs that came to be known as “desert modernism”

This “Desert Modern” style was a high-end architectural style featuring open-design plans, wall-to-wall carpeting, air-conditioning, swimming pools, and very large windows.


Albert Frey's Russell House

Albert Frey’s Russell House

Frey’s buildings contributed significantly to establishing Palm Springs as a progressive desert mecca for innovative modern architecture during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

He produced designs for the spectrum of architectural commissions, from bespoke custom homes to institutional and public buildings, most of which are still in use today. 

One of Frey’s Coachella Valley Homes is the Russel House. Frey’s genius work features an infinity edge pool (one of the first ever built in the Coachella Valley) and infinity edge Jacuzzi that surrounds a huge boulder.

In comparison with his contemporary and fellow European transplant, Robert Neurtra, Frey’s designs are more integrated into the surrounding landscape and draw from the local surroundings for color and metaphor.

Like Frey, Neutra apparently valued the opportunity to design a modem house.

Significant buildings by Frey during this period include the following:

  • Loewy House
  • Monkey Tree boutique hotel (1960), now the Terra Cotta Inn
  • North Shore Beach and Yacht Club at North Shore, Salton Sea – Renovated May 2010
  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Valley Station
  • Palm Springs City Hall (1952)
  • Tramway Gas Station, with its iconic “flying wedge” canopy, at the foot of the entrance to the tramway on the northern edge of Palm Springs, now used as a visitor’s center.

Frey died in Palm Springs at 95 years old, and is buried at Welwood Murray Cemetery.

The Coachella Valley offers many ways to learn, get inside and enjoy some of the Modern homes and Commercial buildings.

As Modernism Weeks Fall Weekend Preview approaches makes sure you get tickets.  You do not want to miss tours like…

Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood – The Movie Colony Historical Walking Tour

Modernism Week Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour

Spring Modernism Week 2014 photo by Coachella Valley

Spring Modernism Week 2014 photo by Coachella Valley

Frey House II Tours

Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale – Early Buying Preview

Modernism Yard Sale

That is just a few of the great events Modernism Week has to offer.

You can check out the entire weekends line up at ModernismWeek.com

If you can’t make it in October, Palm Springs Historical Society offers many year round tours….

Modern Commercial Structures of Fashion and Finance

See the iconic commercial buildings along Palm Canyon Drive designed and built for Fashion and Finance.

Approximately 1.5 hours.

– Sunday – 10:30 am

Mod Goes Mass Celebrity Homes in Vista Las Palmas

In this mid-century tract development, quintessential Modernist homes were created through mass production. See homes in this trendy neighborhood where many celebrities lived and frolicked (Debbie Reynolds, Elvis Presley, Kim Novak, Dean Martin and many others).

Approximately 2 hours.

– Tuesday – 9:30 am

The best things about Modernism Week is that it happens TWICE a year!  If you miss the Fall Preview, don’t worry to much because Modernism Week returns February  12- 22, 2015. 


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