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”

Modernism Week 2016



With Modernism Week 2016 fast approaching, fans are looking for new places to visit. The City of Rancho Mirage is also a Modernism Week sponsor.

Mid-Century Modern In Tamarisk Rancho, Rancho Mirage
Mid-Century Modern In Tamarisk Rancho, Rancho Mirage – Photo by Jim Riche

Rancho Mirage became a hub of modernist architecture with the development in the mid 1950s of Thunderbird and Tamarisk Country Clubs. Both became the focus of architectural innovation. As the rich and famous flocked further east, so their architects came with them: Cody, Krisel, Williams, Wexler, Lapham, Welton Becket, Pereira, and more designed houses here, while smaller condominium communities were also developed. Continue reading “Modernism Week 2016”

2016 Palm Springs Modernism Week

Modernism Week 2016

2016 Palm Springs Modernism Week is Almost Here! Plan Your Week

If you plan to attend, buy your tickets soon, as the events are being sold out as we speak – about forty as this being typed.

Tickets remain for the popular Frey House II tours that are about half sold out and there is one remaining Modernism Week Signature Home tour.

There are a number of theme Parties left, which may be a good place to start, or with Neighborhood Home Tours where new neighborhoods are to be seen in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells.

More exclusive home tours may include a reception: Abernathy Residence, Raymond Lowry House, Smoke Tree Ranch, Frank Sinatra Estate, and The Loewe Estate.

Be sure to check out the Lectures, thirty-nine alone at the Annenberg Theater, some by famous names, on topics ranging from architects to architecture, art, fashion, design and even Cuba.  All look interesting and some are very unique. There are also daily lectures at the MW Camp. Some you will not want to miss.

Check out unique events such as an evening at Hotel Lautner, a retro Pinball Tournament and Student Modernism Projects, which is free, and many more.

If you plan to spend a day or more at MW, you should spend a few hours digging into the Whole MW Program. There is way too much for any one person to see.

If you use don’t mind experimenting, and understand what this is, we have created a Calendar File that will place MW events on your personal calendar. It includes only those events not fully booked at it’s creation.

Click this file to download it:  MW 2016 Events.ics

It will load into your calendar automatically. Go to February.  You will need to view each day by itself to see all the events.  Click each one to get more detail and link to the event and buy ticket pages


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”

Palm Springs Modernism Week Has Something For Everyone

Palm Springs Modernism Week, Feb. 15 – 24, offers a plethora of events, lectures, tours, films and adventures for the novice to the connoisseur.

Modernism Week is a celebration of Mid-Century design, architecture and culture in Palm Springs.  You can begin to absorb the vibe merely by walking around the neighborhoods and along North Palm Canyon’s Uptown District. Continue reading “Palm Springs Modernism Week Has Something For Everyone”

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”