This week in Palm Springs is Modernism Week which is a week celebrating Southern California Modernism in architecture and design. Personally, I wanted to focus on Mid Century Modern architecture because I love the shapes and design of houses and buildings from this era. The large windows that aspire to combine indoor and outdoor living spaces, the Brise Soleil (“sun baffle outside the windows or extending over the entire surface of a building’s facade”; created to keep out direct or lots of sunlight- these can create incredible shadows and geometric shapes), and the simplicity of the design inspire me.
Because we were late in signing up, a lot of the tours and events were sold out (not to mention being very expensive). Luckily, I found Palm Springs Mod Squad Architecture and Design Tours. Our tour guide was Kurt Cyr and let me tell you, he is a wealth of information regarding the architects that shaped Palm Springs: William Cody, Albert Frey, Hugh Kaptur, William Krisel, E. Stewart Williams and Donald Wexler. But beyond that, he is passionate about preservation and design. He really knows his stuff!
One of the most interesting aspects I learned on my tour was that in Palm Springs, Mid Century Modern architecture was ‘frozen in time’ for a couple of reasons. One is because for many people, their home in Palm Springs was a winter home, so people weren’t interested in updates since they were only there a short time during the year. Secondly, because the desert is so big, the city expanded out, leaving the original houses untouched and unfortunately, falling into disrepair.
Currently, there is a huge preservation movement happening within Palm Springs where houses and buildings are being designated as historic sites. According to Kurt, the Mid Century Modern houses in Las Vegas are being demolished in the name of progress. Personally, I love the idea of preserving and celebrating the past but also looking towards the future. From my understanding, this is exactly what Palm Springs is trying to do.
I look forward to going back to Palm Springs and exploring more architecture and design.
California… how I love thee.
Please enjoy the photos below:
Video of the giant, mega windmills:
Resources and links:
Palm Springs Mod Squad Architecture and Design Tours
Palm Springs Tour of Mid Century Homes (video)
All links researched on February 19, 2018