Modernism Week in Palm Springs – February 14 – 24, 2019

Modernism Week in Palm Springs – February 14 – 24, 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – nope, not Christmas, but Modernism Week in Palm Springs.  Did you know that Palm Springs has the largest collection of preserved mid-century modern architecture in the country? All the biggies designed and built here:  Albert Frey, Donald Wexler, John Lautner, William E. Cody, Richard Neutra, A. Quincy Jones, E. Stewart Williams, Hugh Kaptur and many more.  Modernism Week celebrates all the wonderful architecture this city has through tours, lectures and of course…parties.  For a full listing of Modernism Week Events, check out

(and yes, the Architecture is a favorite backdrop for all lovers of Architecture too…)

The House of Tomorrow, designed by Palmer and Krisel for the Alexander Construction Company in 1959. This is also known as the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway. (Photo Credit to: IG @Spikeandthecamera)

man with dark hair and sunglasses, green shirt and black pants standing on rocks and next to a big cactus plant in front of a tan house

Kaufman House designed by Richard Neutra in 1946 (Photo Credit to: IG @cristianoleone_) – and the famous location for Slim Arons Poolside Gossip

Woman in a light blue dress and hat standing in front of a building with 2 palm trees

Palm Springs City Hall Designed by Architectural dream team of Frey, Williams, Chambers and Clark (Photo Credit to: IG @michellebuec)

We could go on and on (enough content for many more blogs), but it started with Albert Frey (a Swiss born Architect who worked under Le Corbusier) – known as The “First Architect of the Desert” and “The Father of Desert Modernism” (oh, and also the designer of our very own Monkey Tree Hotel in 1960).  In 1934 Albert Frey moved to the desert here in Palm Springs to work on the Kocher-Samson Building – and then others followed.  E. Stewart Williams came in 1946 and William E. Cody in 1945.  These three Architects set the tone for the practice of mid-century modern architecture in Palm Springs.  In the foreword of Palm Springs Modern by Adele Cygelman, Joseph Rosa states, “The development of air-conditioning in the post war years made Palm Springs a viable resort town for the affluent.  Over the next three decades, building in Palm Springs flourished from domestic to civic scale, and modern architecture was prevalent.  In the 1970’s tastes changed, but since the 1990’s, Palm Springs has been rediscovered by a culturally ambitions younger set.”  The fascination with mid-century modern architecture continues and all around town you can see preserved homes and building as well as buildings in the process of restoration.

Palm Springs is a town where people take pride in the architecture.  In fact, its not un-common dinner party conversation to overhear someone saying, “I live in a Cody” or “I live in a Wexler” and everyone knows that that means.  That’s largely due to the quantity of quality of small mid-century homes built by the Alexander Construction Company.  The Alexanders hired Architects such as Cody, Wexler, Dubois and Palmer and Krisel to design desert tract neighborhoods. Some of those neighborhoods include:  Vista Las Palmas (330 homes), Twin Palms Estates (90 homes), Racquet Club Road Estates (360 homes)…for a total of 1,240 homes right here in Palm Springs.  (Now you can see why so many people have home architects in common!)  George Alexander believed that “in this luxury community, quality homes could be built to fit the budgets of all families.”  In these tract communities, the floor plans were all the same on the same size lot, but they didn’t look cookie-cutter.  Instead, the floor plans were rotated on the sites and rooflines varied to give the neighborhood a diversity in design.

house on a green lawn with a sloped triangular roof and mountains and palm trees around the house

Vista Las Palmas neighborhood. Charles Dubois “Swiss Miss” house. (Photo Credit: IG @kristawheels)

green house with white sloped roof with round pads of green grass in front of the house and palm trees all around

Twin Palms Estates Neighborhood (Photo Credit: IG@notalexreid)

white house with sloped roof and a gray block wall in front of the house.  palm trees on the side of the house and mountains behind

Racquet Club Road Estates (Photo IG credit: @midmodmarie)

If you visit Palm Springs (during Modernism Week or anytime) and would like to immerse yourself in authentic mid-century modern architecture (designed in 1960 by Albert Frey), come and stay at a our 16-room boutique hotel.  For reservations at The Monkey Tree Hotel:

black vintage car with a white roof parked in front of a white building with sloped roof and a rock wall

Front Entrance of The Monkey Tree Hotel with our 1967 Chrysler Newport (Photo Credit to Carl Vargas: IG @carl_v12)

swimming pool with blue water, lounge chairs by the side of the pool with yellow umbrellas.  palm trees and a white building in the distance

Inside the oasis at The Monkey Tree Hotel. (Photo Credit: IG @goldklee)

green lawn with a white one story building in the distance with blue doors, palm trees in front of the building

Original interior and room entrances here at The Monkey Tree Hotel. (Photo Credit: IG @californialustre)

The best way to get a feel for the architecture and interiors is to TAKE A GUIDED TOUR.  We have taken tours with both Kurt and Michael.  Here is their contact information in case you’d like to take a tour when you are here!

Kurt Cyr:

Michael Stern

And if you want to bring some MID-CENTURY TREASURES home with you, shop vintage for a special souvenir (in the mad men mode think:  bar-ware, ice buckets and martini shakers).  Palm Spring has lots of shopping options…and you can always ship things home too.  Here are some of our vintage shopping stops (and where we purchased many of the accessories and furnishings here at The Monkey Tree Hotel):

Antique Gallery of Palm Springs:


Sunny Dunes Antique Mall:

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