Good Architecture markets itself when it gets seen, and the more it is seen, the more marketing it achieves. The trick is in getting it seen, and that means making it visible to the most people in the most ways.
We have many fine examples of this architectural genre that are “The Lost Mid-Century Moderns” because we can’t connect them with their architect. These post and beam homes were designed for maximum light, view lines and contact with the desert. Take this home for example.
From Atlanta to San Diego, Austin to Denver, Palm Springs to Washington, D.C. and everywhere in between, the Mid-Century Modern style of design continues to draw new admirers each year.
While Mid-Century Modern architecture can be found across the United States, there are several locations that offer better examples and higher concentrations of Mid-Century Modern architecture than others.
Here is our list of the “Top 5 Best Cities in The U.S. for Mid-Century Modern Architecture” to help you learn more.
Understanding Mid-Century Modern Architecture
Characterized by flat planes, extensive use of glass, innovative building materials, and open design concepts, many of these homes were built between 1945 and the 1980’s. They were designed by a generation of modern architects that fled the rise of Nazi Germany, including Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, who then taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
World War II would bring about experimental technologies and materials like steel and plywood, and architects’ designs would encourage residents to explore the world and nature in new ways. Frank Lloyd Wright, who trained many Mid-Century Modern architects, would also be a huge influence, particularly in Palm Springs, California.
Located next to Tamarisk Country Club you will find a well-desired community, Tamarisk Rancho, which is divided into two separate parts featuring each 16 Mid-Century Modern homes. The homes are built along grassy green belts with a 45 foot long pool in the center inviting for a swim or just to relax while admiring the beautiful views to many date palms and fruit trees giving it a feel of living in an oasis. Tamarisk Rancho hosted many parties in the 50th attended by Barbara Sinatra, Groucho Marx and many other stars from Hollywood and was advertised back then as being one of the greatest places in the Palm Springs area. Continue reading “Tamarisk Rancho in Rancho Mirage has Significant Mid-Century Modern Architecture”
The 40,000-odd visitors to Modernism Week 2014 were made well aware of the Mid-Century Modern homes in Palm Springs, but they may not be aware of the trove available in other parts of the Valley. At the same time the modernist architects like William Cody, Albert Frey, Krisel and Donald Wexler, to name a few, designed homes in Palm Springs, they did too in Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta and Indio.
It is very difficult to find exact numbers, but we do have some historical sales data. Based on the Desert Area Multiple Listing Service, there have been about 7,200 residential sales since 1998 in Palm Springs of mid-century (approximately 1949-1969) homes. Not all of these are Mid-Century Modern, but some good portion are.
According to the same criteria we should find MCM in good numbers In the five cities mentioned above, where there were about 11,000 Mid-Century sales, more than in Palm Springs. The average sales price over the period 1998-2014 was about $388,000 in Palm Springs, $435,000 in Rancho Mirage and $424,000 in Indian Wells. Continue reading “Modernism Lives Beyond Palm Springs”
Sandpiper has the distinction of being the oldest residential development in Palm Desert. Architect William Krisel designed Sandpiper in the 1960’s. The homes are Mid-Century Modern in design. His inspiration came from Frank Lloyd Wright. He offered brightly lit homes that were well designed along with lovely landscaping and quiet private views. The whole property has 18 “pods.” Each has its own lovely swimming pool and there are 6 buildings within the “pod” and each contains two one-level homes. Sandpiper is a convenient walk or stroll to groceries, coffee shops, restaurants and shopping on El Paseo Drive
Sandpiper home prices range from $250,000 to $500,000+.
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?”
Old Las Palmas has one of the largest population of homes in Palm Springs that are owned by celebrities. Many of the homes date back to the 1920’s, when it was developed by Alvah Hicks, a builder from New York, and his son Harold. It was a citrus grove before being developed into one of the most prestigious areas of Palm Springs. Back in the 50’s and 60’s Old Las Palmas had many well known celebrities as residents, Liberace, Alan Ladd, Rudy Vallee, Edgar Bergen, and George Hamilton to name a few.
Old Las Palmas is very convenient, and within walking distance to downtown Palm Springs. There are many special advantages to living in Old Las Palmas.
Today, Old Las Palmas is recognized as one of the premier locations in Palm Springs with manicured estates and magnificent views of the San Jacinto mountains.
VISTA LAS PALMAS
Vista Las Palmas – the Beverly Hills of Palm Springs, used to be the place where many Los Angeles Celebrities and Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin known as the “Rat Pack” would vacation in the 50”s and it became known as the Beverly Hills of Palm Springs.
Nestled between the San Jacinto Mountains and downtown Palm Springs, it made it the perfect place to build “Alexander Homes” done by Architect William Krisel. Vista Las Palmas still features many of them in todays so popular mid-century modern era. Alexander architecture is nowadays well known with their roof styles such as butterfly, low-gabled and folded plate, post & beam construction, clerestory windows, center halls and large lots. “Swiss Misses” became also popular with their double A-frame designed by Charles Dubois and still can be found today in Vista Las Palmas.
Mid-century modern rules the Vista Las Palmas area and many of the older original homes have been restored, remodeled and modernized and increased tremendously in value over the last years.
Home prices in Old Las Palmas and Vista Las Palmas range from $750,000 to $10 Million+.
DEEPWELL and DEEPWELL RANCH
This is one of those neighborhoods within the city of Palm Springs that is as rich with history as any, but may not be as well-known.
In 1952 Deepwell was officially started as a subdivision. It is a neighborhood filled with rich history, but it is not as well known as some areas of Palm Springs. It has a colorful and long history as a very important part of Palm Springs.
In 1926, Henry Pearson a scientist, bought the area that is known today as the Deepwell Ranch property. He dug his first well and discovered water as deep as 630 feet. This is the deepest well in the Coachella Valley. This is why the property became known as Deepwell Ranch.
Today, a drive through the streets of this neighborhood is great fun, but better yet, rent some bikes and ride these quite streets and enjoy one the of oldest neighborhoods of Palm Springs.
The price of homes in Deepwell and Deepwell Ranch range from $400,000 to $1,200,000+.
Drawings for the Johnson-Hebert Residence by Walter S. White (1917-2002) date to early 1958. By that time, White had perfected his ideas for mid-twentieth century modern desert residences. Typically, he first conceived a roof for without shade, life in the desert was unbearable. Underneath he, second, placed space-defining walls, usually not more than two per room and sometimes extending beyond the roof line in order to mark outdoor living spaces. Third, the remaining sides of the rooms White enclosed with large expanses of glass.
White liked to experiment with the roofs. Curved shapes were a favorite of his; the Bates Residence (1954) in Palm Desert features a wave-like roof, a simple concave curve graces the Alexander Residence (1955) in Palm Springs. By the later 1950s, White was fascinated by hyperbolic paraboloid (hypar) shapes. Formed like a saddle, or a Pringle potato chip, these roofs were self-supporting and offered maximum freedom for the interior arrangements. Continue reading “Walter S. White, One of the Great Palm Springs Area Architects”