Modernism Week Discovery: Walter S White

Walter S White – Modernism Week Discoveries

73271 Buckboard Trail, Palm Desert Photo George Gutenberg
Photo George Gutenberg

As we suit up for MW 2017 to learn more about this genre, it might be good to recall that we’ve learned a lot in the past.

One such discovery at MW 2016 was the little-known Mid-Century Modern architect Walter S White who did memorable structures from Palm Springs to Indio, as well as work in Colorado and Los Angeles. He was first introduced to us in a blog by Professor Volker M. Welter, in 2015, who later did a lecture on the architect at MW 2016.

Professor Welter also authored “Projects and Inventions in Architecture”, published by the Art, Design and Architecture, UCSB.  This book provides a thorough review of his work and working life with details, background, drawings, locations and photographs. It can be ordered here. Thus the architect has been moved from being little known to well recognized.

Clicking here will show a map developed by Prof.  Welter showing his known and suspected projects. Continue reading “Modernism Week Discovery: Walter S White”

Modernism Week Fall Preview

Modernism Week Fall Preview 2016

Modernism Week Fall Preview October 21-23, 2016


The Modernism Week Fall Preview is an abbreviated version of the ten-day 2017 Modernism Week February 16 -26, 2017, founded in 2009, that brings visitors from all over the world.

Many of the ten-day event historical tours, social gatherings, lectures and other functions are available at the Fall Preview. It’s reported that the Coachella Valley had 60,000 international visitors for Modernism Week last year. This preview weekend provides a wonderful opportunity to attend and enjoy the events without the congestion of the main event early next year. Continue reading “Modernism Week Fall Preview”

What is Mid-Century Modern?

Wexler Roof
Roof and wall detail of a Wexler Steel House. Photo by Greg Felsen

The community of Palm Springs, California is home to one of the highest concentrations of Mid-Century Modern architecture in the world, making our community a famous destination for aficionados of all things modern. In fact, each February visitors flock from all over the world to celebrate this design style during our world-renowned Modernism Week, which offers events ranging from architecture tours to art exhibitions, swanky parties to film lectures, and much more. Let’s take a look back at the history of Mid-Century Modern architecture in Palm Springs and how we’ve earned this prestigious reputation.

Starting in the 1920’s, Hollywood’s elite found that Palm Springs was the ideal location to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, yet was close enough to get back to the studios quickly if needed – just a two-hour drive. They and other affluent elite would turn Palm Springs into a private oasis of custom homes designed to integrate seamlessly with the beautiful desert landscape and outstanding Southern California climate. Later, during the 50’s and 60’s, architects and builders would experiment with these early designs, taking the new aesthetic into mass production by using a few basic floor plans and several roofline choices. The Alexander Construction Company, for example, would use these plans to build several entire neighborhoods. The development of more than 2,200 homes in this style would effectively double the size of Palm Springs at the time. Continue reading “What is Mid-Century Modern?”

Modernism Week 2014

Modernism Week 2016

Palm Springs in California has made its name over the years, to attract a lot of people from all over the world to the Palm Springs Modernism Week taking place from February 13th till 23rd, 2014.  This yearly event celebrates various cool parties, mid-century modern architecture and designs, special touring of homes and other adventures.

Modernism Week 2014 Retro Martini Party
Modernism Week 2014
Retro Martini Party


In addition to the Bus Tours showing architectural significant homes which runs on a daily basis four times during modernism week, the famous Estate of Annenberg at Sunnylands is open to the public for touring and the Convention Center in Palm Springs is holding the popular Modernism Show.  Another event which should not be missed is the Exposition of expanded Prefab Showcase and Modern Living which include:

Modern Mambo! Modernism Week After Dark Opening Night, February 13, 2014

Continue reading “Modernism Week 2014”

Los Angeles Design Festival In Full Swing

Now underway through June 30 (2013), the Los Angeles Design Festival is an annual series of design events staged around greater Los Angeles that celebrates how design in — all its disciplines — impacts our quality of life.

A plethora of events are held from the Los Angeles Convention Center, home tours and skyline walks  to small design shops, produced by organizations and companies that have a point of view on design and its role in the LA environs and culture.  The Festival encompasses Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties.  Major sponsors and partners include Dwell on Design, The Lincoln Mercury Company, JC Penney, and the American Society of Interior Designers. Continue reading “Los Angeles Design Festival In Full Swing”

Events for Modernism Week 2013 Announced


Get ready for Modernism Week 2013, February 14-24, for 11 days of parties, a retro fundraiser, bus tours, lectures and the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale.

Palm Springs Preservation Foundation just unveiled four events including PSFP board member Gary Johns’ acclaimed free lecture Lost, Saved & Endangered: Modernist Architecture in Palm Spring; the always popular tour of Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate; a new tour of three steel homes; and the signature Retro Martini Party fundraiser. Continue reading “Events for Modernism Week 2013 Announced”

Mid Century Design Continues to Influence Today’s Art and Fashion

Art and fashion of the 1960s continues to deeply influence today’s art trends.

The Galen
The Galen – Palm Springs Art Museum at Palm Desert

Recent events and exhibits at the Palm Springs Art Museum underscore that influence when a 60s-themed opening party topped more than 800 guests for The Galen and Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden in Palm Desert.

Images from the 60’s themed party are on the museum’s web site at Continue reading “Mid Century Design Continues to Influence Today’s Art and Fashion”

Modernism Celebrated In Desert this Fall

William Cody’s 1947 Del Marcos Hotel recently achieved a Class 1 Historic designation.

There is much Modernism to celebrate in the California desert, and things get underway in October  when seasonal temperatures drop to warm days with cool, balmy evenings.

The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation recently celebrated Del Marcos Hotel’s Class 1 Historic designation with a tour and ceremony.  The hotel was designed by William Cody in 1947 for then-owners Samuel and Adele Marcus.  Current owner are Lars and Kelly Viklund.

Built of native stone and redwood surrounding a swimming pool, special architectural features include an “organic” asymmetrical  entrance doorway and floor to ceiling glass.  The two-story hotel features luxury suites in a U-shaped plan centered around a courtyard that encourages guests to socialize. Continue reading “Modernism Celebrated In Desert this Fall”

PS ModCom Launches New Tour App, New Modernism Week Events

Palm Springs Modernism is alive and well this fall as a new architectural tourism App is launched in September, Palm Springs Modernism Week kicks off with its new MODSHOP store space at the Raymond-Lawrence Gallery, and aficionados can get early taste of Modernism Week in October during DOCOMOMO, a national tour day.

Whatever’s APPropriate

In a timely collaboration with Palm Springs Life Magazine, the Palm Springs Modern Committee (PSModCom) launched a multi-platform electronic application, Palm Springs Modern: Mid-Century Architecture Tours, now available from the App Store for iPhone and iPad and from Android Market.

The $5.99 tour app is in HD-720p format and features three tours of over 80 architecturally significant modern homes and commercial buildings throughout the greater Palm Springs area.  The APP also presents in-depth profiles of 12 leading Modern architects whose contributions have shaped the architectural landscape of Palm Springs. Continue reading “PS ModCom Launches New Tour App, New Modernism Week Events”

The Desert Modernism Experience – Cool Things To Do in The Desert in July

The Saguaro Hotel

Desert Modernism is more than a style, it’s a lifestyle that is best experienced at your leisure.  In fact, Desert Modernism practically invented the idea of “leisure.” Living both indoors and out inspired the idea of casual living.

Since Desert folks dig the heat, July won’t faze you; rest assured, there are plenty of cool events, places to go, things to do while grooving in the Desert Modernism experience. Continue reading “The Desert Modernism Experience – Cool Things To Do in The Desert in July”