Mid-century mania: the Palm Springs Modernism Week 2018 preview

Mid-century mania: the Palm Springs Modernism Week 2018 preview

Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from 15–25 February 2018, has announced its 11-day programme of mid-century modern architecture, interiors, culture, parties and plenty of opportunities to knock back a martini. Explore what this microcosm of mid-century modernism has to offer in its most exciting week of the year, below.

House rules

Nestled into the side of the San Jacinto mountains – with views across the Coachella valley – is Frey House II, designed by architect Albert Frey. Palm Springs Modernism Week presents an opportunity to explore the house, which was Frey's second home in the town. It is compact – approximately 800 sq ft – and very private, with a curved pool and patio sunk into the rocky surroundings. The 45 minute tour, hosted by Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Council, aims to afford a sensitive insight into the architect and his architecture. Interested to find out more about Frey? A talk titled ‘Albert Frey’s Architecture: Technology and Nature in Harmony’, given by Sidney Williams, Palm Springs Art Museum’s founding curator of architecture and design, will explore Frey’s responses to nature in the context of his drawings, photography and videos of the desert environment, surveying how his creative studies informed his architecture.

Around the houses

Jump in your convertible and tap the first address of the ‘Framing Spaces Home Tour’ into your sat-nav. New to the schedule for 2018, this self-guided driving tour offers guests the chance to discover some of Palm Springs’ best-preserved mid-century modern homes, with unique interiors that ‘accentuate the art of desert living’ and boast incredible views. Starting at the Swatt | Miers Architects-designed Palm Springs Animal Shelter and then moving from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, the tour will take approximately two hours. Pictured here, the modernist home, casita, art studio and gallery designed by Architect Jim Cioffi, and built by builder David Johnston.

The fashion of finance

A beacon of civic mid-century moderism at the heart of Palm Springs is the Bank of America building, designed by Victor Gruen Associates and Rudy Baumfield (it was known as the City National Bank when it completed in 1959). Located on South Palm Canyon Drive, the building’s bold blue curved form was inspired by the shape of Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp, born of the booming Commercial Modern movement of the 1950s and 1960s that allowed architects to explore modernism on a larger, public scale. Fashion meets finance in a talk that will explore the movers and shakers behind the commercial scene of Palm Springs, and the architectural gems that serve the town as banks and financial institutions. The talk will also discuss buildings in Palm Springs by architects E Stewart Williams and Larry Lapham.

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