The edge of the Sonoran Desert in Southern California is in the throes of Palm Springs Modernism Week 2022. The beloved architecture festival is now back for its newest edition, running 17 – 27 February 2022 in various locations in the design-savvy town. Arid Californian landscapes, dreamy modernist architecture, art, product design, the golden era of Hollywood and poolside glamour all play a role in this fabulous feast of all things midcentury. There are some 350 events on offer, including the returning Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, plenty of tours of iconic homes, as well as neighbourhood tours and more. What better place to escape to?

Top picks at Palm Springs Modernism Week 2022

Forgotten Frey: Albert Frey’s Cree House

cree house by Albert Frey, on show during Palm Springs Modernism Week 2022

Cree House is one of the lesser-known works by acclaimed California architect Albert Frey. The man behind Palm Springs classics, such as Frey House II, Loewy House and the Tramway Gas Station with its famous ‘flying’ canopy, created this hidden gem around 1955. Having worked with Le Corbusier and influenced by modernist teachings from Europe, Frey worked on this private residence in Cathedral City; left neglected for years and fell into disrepair before it got restored to its former glory for Palm Springs Modernism Week 2019. Elements such as the exterior and interior wall panels, the fluted fibreglass deck pieces, kitchen appliances and cabinets have been preserved and remain part of this Desert Modernist house. 

Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour

 Joe Wolf. on show during Palm Springs Modernism Week 2022
One of Palm Springs’ most famous homes, the Kaufmann House by Richard NeutraPhotography: Joe Wolf

Granted, this is not a new event on the agenda; but it is possibly the best, biggest and most loved architecture tour in Palm Springs Modernism Week’s history. Hop on an open-top bus to experience the city’s architecture under the sunny skies and from a unique vantage point, atop a double decker bus. The tour goes through the centre of Palm Springs and several key landmarks and historical neighbourhoods, offering a great overview of the area’s architecture and urban feel. 

Twin Palms guided walking tour

high kaptur house in palm springs
Hugh Kaptur (b. 1931) is one of Palm Springs’ most prolific architects and part of a group of modernists who defined Desert Modernism. Pictured here is his house for Hollywood actor Steve McQueen. Photography: Mark Davidson, excerpted from the publication Hollywood Modern (Rizzoli, 2018)

If you prefer walking, take this tour for an insider’s look into one of Palm Springs’ most coveted and older neighbourhoods for midcentury architecture. Peek into homes and stroll around blocks to admire the works of Hugh KapturWilliam Krisel, Donald Wexler, and more, accompanied by juicy information from the tour’s knowledgeable guides. 

Julius Shulman’s Modern San Diego

One of the photographer’s subjects, Chuey House. Photography: Julius Shulman

Acclaimed architectural photographer Julius Shulman produced over 200 projects, documenting some of the USA’s most exciting modernist architecture along the way. San Diego was one of his focused projects and here, curator Keith York discussed the creative’s extensive body of work and lasting influence across the decades. 

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