Hello and Happy Friday!
Last Friday morning found us headed to Palm Springs for the weekend. I used to think that Palm Springs was the place that people went to play golf in the Winter once they hit 65. A number of friends have corrected my perception, stating that PS is a city where young, hip people go (unlike it’s neighbors to the South, Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage). I realized they must be right; after all, Coachella is held just South of PS. The Ace Hotel chain has a large property there. I also knew PS was a nexus of mid-century modern design, a big draw for me.
This past year, I took my other half for a surprise b-day weekend. I liked that downtown Palm Springs had a walkable feel to it, and that there was an abundance of MCM design nearly everywhere you looked. What I didn’t expect was that I would enjoy the landscape; I’m not a fan of other desert cities like Phoenix or Las Vegas, but for some reason the San Jacinto mountains towering over Palm Springs (the Western edge of the city is built right up against them) gives the city visual interest that is lacking in the other two.
A few photos to illustrate:
This is PS and neighboring communities in the Coachella Valley as seen from the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. At the top of the 8000+ ft peak, you are in an alpine forest that is very different than the desert floor below.
Old school mid-century hotel 4 blocks West of downtown. This illustrates how the city built up to the mountains.
Palm Springs was the testbed for a number of notable Mid-Century Modern architects in the 1950’s through the early 1970’s. Donald Wexler collaborated with the Alexander Construction Company to build 7 factory fabricated, site assembled houses made primarily of steel and glass. These are known as the Alexander Steel Houses. Although 38 were supposed to be built, only 7 exist as a sharp increase in the price of steel made it unprofitable to continue construction. A shame.
This is my (very poor) photograph of the House of Tomorrow, aka Elvis’s honeymoon pad. Prolific PS builder Robert Alexander had this house designed by architect William Krisel for his family. In 1962, the house was featured in Look Magazine as “the House of Tomorrow”. After the Alexanders were tragically killed in a plane crash, Elvis leased the house for an entire year for himself and Priscilla as a honeymoon hideaway. Today, it’s garners more interest for the Elvis connection than for it’s futurist design of three concentric circles spanning across 5,500 SF.
Anyhow–back to real life, gray skies, and cold(ish) temperatures for the next few months. But it was a great way to escape reality (of advancing age).
Hope you all have a great weekend!