PS - Architecture Tour

 
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Heading to Palm Springs and booking a midcentury modern architect tour wasn’t always on the bucket list. The desire grew out of a love for the furniture of the era (a natural progression I guess) and the local social media pages showcasing and creating awareness of modernist architecture within Australia, such as Secret Design Studio, Modernist Australia and Modernist Adelaide.

March 2018
Following a lazy day poolside, we arrive at a fitting retro-style furnishing store to meet Trevor O’Donnell (our tour guide) and three other fans of modernist design for our architecture tour in Palm Springs.

After some initial introductions Trevor talks us through how Palm Springs (this desert oasis) became one of the world’s largest and best-preserved concentrations of modernist architecture. 

To my surprise Trevor takes us as far back as the 1920s + 30s, when Palm Springs emerged as a resort destination drawing Hollywood elites and affluent vacationers,  fueling a growing need for architects to arrive and design homes and buildings. The major modernism influence in Palm Springs had a rapid growth throughout the 40s-60s.

As Trevor drives us off the main street and into the side streets, the cluster of Modernist housing starts to emerge.  We immediately want to take a snapshot of everything but Trevor has a wealth of background information to each house that we recognize the importance of simply stopping and taking it all in.

The timeless beauty of the architecture, and the consideration for the environment is incredible and inspiring.  Built to blend and merge rather than distract or overtake.

If you took a walk down the streets and didn’t know it, you would be shocked to discover that some of these modernist properties have been around for over seventy years.

Trevor’s tour wetted our appetites for exploring the architectural gems of Palm Springs further, as we knew we had only scratched the surface of it’s timeless beauty.   Next time we will stay an extra few days, hire a couple of pushbikes and explore further on bike or foot.

Palm Springs Architecture Tours take a maximum of 5 people on the tour, the small intimate group was great for us as it allowed for Trevor the opportunity to answer the groups thirst for knowledge.  

The photos we managed to snap are below, along with some info about the style and architect.   There's a wealth of information and history of ownership to each of these properties that the tour (Trevor) covers in detail, it’s fascinating and we would recommend it.  

  Butterfly” Alexander homes, named for their unmistakable rooflines, were built by the George Alexander Construction Co. and designed by the architectural firm Palmer & Krisel in the late ’50s . 

Butterfly” Alexander homes, named for their unmistakable rooflines, were built by the George Alexander Construction Co. and designed by the architectural firm Palmer & Krisel in the late ’50s

  Butterfly” Alexander homes, named for their unmistakable rooflines, were built by the George Alexander Construction Co. and designed by the architectural firm Palmer & Krisel in the late ’50s . 

Butterfly” Alexander homes, named for their unmistakable rooflines, were built by the George Alexander Construction Co. and designed by the architectural firm Palmer & Krisel in the late ’50s

  Vista Las Palmas tract home, C1958/59 Architect: Krisel and Palmer

Vista Las Palmas tract home, C1958/59
Architect: Krisel and Palmer

   
  
   
  
    
  
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     The famous Kaufmann House, C1946 Architect: Richard Neutra  

The famous Kaufmann House, C1946
Architect: Richard Neutra
 

   
  
   
  
    
  
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     Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison’s Steel Houses of the early 1960s were constructed mostly from steel and glass.

Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison’s Steel Houses of the early 1960s were constructed mostly from steel and glass.

   
  
   
  
    
  
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   Charles Dubois’ 1959 chalet-style Swiss Miss House - one of 15 built, features an exaggerated A-frame roof and tropical flavour of a Polynesian hut.

Charles Dubois’ 1959 chalet-style Swiss Miss House - one of 15 built, features an exaggerated A-frame roof and tropical flavour of a Polynesian hut.

  Franz Alexander house, C1955 Architect: Walter S. White    Banner photo (top of page) Vistas Last Palmas tract home, C1958/59 Architect: Krisel and Palmer

Franz Alexander house, C1955
Architect: Walter S. White

Banner photo (top of page)
Vistas Last Palmas tract home, C1958/59
Architect: Krisel and Palmer

Thanks for reading,

Monica and Lola