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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

PS I love you

On the way back from the desert this weekend, we drove through Palm Springs with 2 intentions: 1) to eat our 2nd Mexican meal in 12 hours and 2) to seek out and admire some of the iconic mid-century architecture that residents have preserved and restored.

We started our pseudo-tour on Apache Road in Twin Palms Estates where the first Alexander Tract Houses reside.

Next we stopped by St. Theresa Catholic Church, a William F. Cody designed building from 1968 (great year BTW) with incredible details throughout.  I caught this Road Runner genuflecting outside in one of the many courtyards.  There were no coyotes in sight.

This Motel/Apartment called, "The Hideaway," designed by Architect, Herbert W. Burns, won a 2010 Palm Springs Modern Committee Preservation Award.  So we checked it out... poked around the grounds and contemplated going for a swim.

We drove as close as we could to Frey House II, but couldn't get as close to it as Julius Shulman did in 1965.

We found  the Walter White House on West Cielo Road in Little Tuscany Estates. Rumor has it that It was built in 1955 after White spent some time with R.M. Schindler.  Ripoff or homage?  You be the judge.

Just up the road on Cielo, we saw this very cool house sitting atop a bluff.  I don't know anything about it.  If you do, please let me know!

We happened upon the Kaufmann House, a Neutra from 1946.

Before leaving town, we stopped at the corner of El Molino & North Sunny View where 7 of Donald Wexler's Steel Development Houses stand at attention.

Before leaving Palm Springs, we pulled into the Visitors Center. The dramatic hyperbolic paraboloid  and futuristic overtones of the building instantly reminded me of 2 other iconic structures. "Jack Colker's 76" gas station in Beverly Hills (easily one of the best example of Googie Architecture)...

...and the Edens Theater (no longer in existence) in Northbrook, IL, near where I grew up.  When it opened in 1964, it was billed as, the largest hyperbolic paraboloid building ever constructed.

I was not surprised to find out that the Visitors Center was originally built in 1965 as a filling station.  It was designed by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers and to this day serves as a gateway to the city and a harbinger of great things beyond.


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