Palm Springs will be kicking off this year’s Modernism Week celebration in less than a month! The “week” has now expanded into a ten day celebration of an architectural philosophy or style referenced by various names – Desert Modern, Desert Contemporary, and just plan Mid-Century Modern.
When first built more then fifty years ago for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and other notables, these homes epitomized the sexy life styles of the Hollywood elite. The casual inside/outside design lent itself to soaking in the sun’s warmth and sipping martinis by the pool by day, and marveling at the brilliance of the stars against a black sky undiluted by city lights by night. The first mid-century modern homes were very expensive, being custom designed and built for the rich and famous.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, these first homes were followed by construction of whole neighborhoods of lower cost, similarly designed homes built for the masses. Chief among builders was the Alexander Construction Company. “Alexander’s”, as these uniquely designed homes are now called, changed the face of Palm Springs with the construction of over 2500 homes in this modernist style, dotting the valley. There is much interesting lore relating to these neighborhoods – such as Twin Palms being named after the builders’ decision to plant two palm trees on each property!
Oh sure, modern architecture is not unique to Palm Springs. There are neighborhoods of similar homes to be found in places like LA, Denver and Phoenix. But only here, in our relatively small village of Palm Springs, are they to be found clustered together in such large numbers.
If you’re interested in learning more about mid-century modern architecture and more about Modernism Week, it’s time to check it out. If you plan on participating, make your plans early. Many of the tours and other events during Modernism Week will sell out quickly, so don’t be disappointed. Go to Modernism Week to get all the details. I’ll see you there!