Friday, November 13, 2009

Palm Springs Modern (part one) Architecture

Palm Springs was sparsely populated until the arrival of air conditioning in the 1940's! Then it became a hotspot where Hollywood came to play. The town really kicked into cocktail hour in the late 1940's and 1950's when Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball (our friend Susie owns Lucille Ball's former home in Thunderbird Country Club), Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Jack Benny, the Gabor sisters, Red Skelton, Dinah Shore, Liberace, and Kirk Douglas moved in. Some of these entertainers would "break in" their routines at clubs here, before headlining the showrooms of Las Vegas. Palm Springs was the ideal escape -- at the time it was a dusty 4-hour drive from Los Angeles and inaccessible enough that there were few paparazzi... In the 1950's golf took over, and many people moved to "country clubs".

Bob Hope's house, see amazing aerial photo below

These affluent vacationers wanted their second homes to be beautiful and different. Wood disintegrates in the desert, so the architects who came here started designing homes with glass, stone, steel, and concrete. They wanted differing rooflines: curvy, butterfly, zig-zag, pointy. And, they wanted transparency between being "indoors" and "outdoors", lots of skylights, and interior spaces more "open" and minimal. Thus the architectural style known as "Palm Springs Modern" was born, also referred to as Mid-Century Modern. Palm Springs Modernism reflects Hollywood, tourism, the desert, and wealth. Similar forces existed in Los Angeles, but in Palm Springs they were concentrated in a small, isolated area. The architects who subsequently became famous for this innovative, unique style are: Richard Neutra, A. Quincy Jones, Paul R. Williams, Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams, William Cody, Donald Wexler, Palmer and Krisel, and John Lautner.

When viewing the photos below, please hover your mouse over the word "Notes" on the lower right side, so you'll be able to see the descriptions!
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Julius Shulman: Palm Springs
Palm Springs Weekend
Palm Springs Modern

Palm Springs Modernism Week
Palm Springs Modernism Show and Sale
The Palm Springs Modern Committee
Palm Springs Preservation Foundation
Palm Springs Art Museum: Architecture and Design Council