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“The Desert Modernists” Screening and Talk with Alan Hess

Enjoy a screening and talk about “The Desert Modernists: the Architects who envisioned midcentury design in Palm Springs” with architect and author Alan Hess. $20 (1.5 hrs)
Category: @Palm Springs, Film, Talk, AIA Continuing Education




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Have you ever heard the story of the renowned midcentury architects who originally envisioned the modernist designs of Palm Springs? Let Modernism Week introduce you to “The Desert Modernists” with a primer on notable architects William Cody and Albert Frey. In a presentation led by Alan Hess (author, architect and member of Modernism Week’s Board of Directors) we will present a talk and screening of the Desert Modernists video series. This specially created film produced by Modernism Week looks more closely at each of the consequential architects who turned Palm Springs into a renowned laboratory for Modern architecture. Cody and Frey were the first video installments presented online at in 2020, and now live and in-person for the first time.

More about the Desert Modernists, by Alan Hess:

Palm Springs boasts a museum-quality collection of midcentury modern architecture. You already know icons like Philip Johnson’s Glass House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Mies’ Farnsworth house, and Los Angeles’ Case Study Houses. Now add Palm Springs' master architects to that list. Experimenting with an even broader range of Modern concepts and designs, Palm Springs produced Albert Frey’s tent-like house perched on a mountainside, E. Stewart Williams’ Edris house growing from its rocky site, Donald Wexler’s innovative prefab Steel houses, and Palmer & Krisel’s mass-produced Twin Palms homes, along with classic Modern icons such as Richard Neutra's Kaufmann house, John Lautner’s Elrod house, and A. Quincy Jones’ Sunnylands estate.

Midcentury Palm Springs was a major incubator for midcentury modern architectural ideas with few equals in the world. These architectural innovations are not limited to houses. Like other well known midcentury architectural centers such as Columbus, Indiana, and Sarasota, Florida, Palm Springs’ design innovations covered every building type a city needs: schools, churches, fire stations, banks, city halls, and gas stations. Each is a gem of a Modern design, carried out by master architects, and well preserved today. 

This is what makes Palm Springs important for you to know about. It is a key part of Modern history. It was a case study of ideas about Modern materials, methods, and lifestyles. Its architects deserve to be as well known as any brand name Modern architect. Now you can get to know this significant chapter that expanded the boundaries of Modern design.

This event qualifies for 1.5 AIA/CES Learning Units (LU).


Things to Know

This event is for all ages.
Free parking available.
Handicap parking is available. This event is wheelchair accessible.
The organizer of this event is Modernism Week.

Event Check-in Location

The Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 East Baristo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262 

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Photo Credits: Dale Furman

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