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The Architecture of Whimsy: Mid-Twentieth Century Modern Architecture in South Florida

Whimsical, playful and capricious describes much of South Florida Modern architecture, which can be entirely different than the Palm Springs Modernism experience. It’s like being in a foreign land. $12 (1 hr)
Category: @Palm Springs, @CAMP Theater, Book Signing, Kid-Friendly Activity, Presentation, Talk


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Full Details

South Florida Modernism can be a real eye opener into how one defines Modernism.  After World War II there was an explosion of regional mid-20th century architectural styles designed throughout the country, with each region contributing its own individual idiosyncratic regional style.  This was especially true in both South Florida and Palm Springs.

Although there are similarities in detailing, each region developed a different outlook on architectural style. Palm Springs Modernism is derived primarily from the crisp and clean geometrical lines of the International Style. This rectangular style contrasts beautifully with the fantastical shapes of the surrounding mountains ever present in the background.  

With the absence of any mountains in South Florida, it is the architecture itself that incorporates both the contrasting forces of mountains and geometrical design.  Parts of the architecture become more three dimensional and often very sculptural in form.  

In Palm Springs the overwhelming majority of Modernism examples are seen in single family residences, while in South Florida Modernism was designed in a much wider range of structures, including office, commercial, retail, entertainment and religious buildings.  

South Florida Modern architecture has furthered its role as a vacationland with a playful and whimsical approach to midcentury architecture and design.  Come join us on a photo-tour of a foreign land.

Arthur Marcus is an architect, photographer and historic preservation consultant living in South Florida where he has maintained his private practice of architecture since 1992. A native of Philadelphia, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University and a Master of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Architecture and photography have been lifelong passions from an early age and one has certainly informed the other over the course and geography of his career.

Marcus' latest book is The Architecture of Whimsy: Mid-20th-Century Modern Architecture in South Florida (Shiffer Publishing Ltd., 2020).


Things to Know

This event is for all ages. 
A book signing will follow this event.
Ample free public parking is available in the multi-level public garage across from the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Handicap parking is available. This event is wheelchair accessible.
The organizer of this event is Modernism Week.

Event Check-in Location 

CAMP Theater, 285 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262
View Map

Photo Credits: 
Arthur Marcus Photography 


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