Palm Springs Modernism Week Events at Forefront in February 2012
Palm Springs Modernism Week is one of the countrys most popular annual events for architects, modernism art and design fans, and mid century modern culture buffs.
The seventh annual Modernism Week, February 16-26, 2012 brings thousands to Palm Springs for 11 days of double-decker bus tours, lectures, films, exhibits, a vintage fashion show, and parties that celebrate the architecture and culture of the 1950-60s era. Modernism Week offers more than 75 events including some firsts for the Coachella Valley.
Visitors and residents alike are looking forward to the first public tours of the renowned Sunnylands Estate, the historic Annenberg residence and grounds and the new Sunnylands Center & Gardens.
The late Lenore and Ambassador Walter Annenberg lived at Sunnylands some five months a year during which they entertained United States Presidents, British and other royalty, international political figures, cultural and entertainment icons.
The 1966 Mid-Century Modern residence was designed by A. Quincy Jones with interiors by William Haines and Ted Graber. The 25,000 square foot home, located in the middle of landscaped grounds and a private Dick Wilson designed golf course, has been restored over the past two years in anticipation of the estate and grounds becoming public.
The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands will present and host a variety of high-level conferences, retreats and seminars of issues of national and international importance. The Modernism Week guided tours will provide the first peek into the 200 acre pink walled estate that has fascinated passersby for decades.
The tour will also feature the newly constructed Sunnylands Center & Gardens, which will officially open to the public March 1.
A variety of public tours will include studies of the art and sculpture collection, interior design and architecture of the Sunnylands home. History and political science buffs can delve into the 20th century cultural landscape through films, videos and publication detailing the historic events of the time and the role the Annenbergs had in shaping the world.
More information may be found online.
On Feb. 16, kick off Palm Springs Modernism Week at a tres chic soiree at John Lautners iconic Elrod House perched upon the Southridge hills overlooking Palm Springs. Just steps away is the late Bob Hopes famed dome-shaped hilltop manse.
Instantly recognizable from the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, the Elrod House offers many Lautner hallmarks: A difficult site in a harsh environment, a modest entrance that conceals its soaring interior space, and rooms that meld indoors with the outdoors. The 8,901-square foot house incorporates an interior/exterior swimming pool in the living room and expansive mountain and desert vistas.
The home was built for interior designer Arthur Elrod and a portion of the tour proceeds benefit the LA-based John Lautner Foundation. This is a rare opportunity to see this privately owned masterpiece home.
Another new event during Modernism Week will be a Modernism Prefab Showcase Village featuring cutting-edge prefab structures with the latest alternative energy ideas incorporated into the 21st century lifestyle. Each room, designed by a different notable interior designer, showcases sophisticated design aesthetics and advanced technological innovations.
A number of cocktail receptions will be held during the week at intimate settings and at some of the areas most notable boutique inns, a perfect way to wind down an exciting day of Modernism.
Get groovy with your cocktail dress, white shoes or Nehru jacket for the PS Modcom annual gala on Saturday, Feb. 18, a tribute to the late Peter Sellers 1968 cult movie, The Party, in an ultra-mod glamorous private home.
On Feb. 24, the Palm Springs Preservation Foundations Retro Martini Party this year will be at the Maranz home, also known as the gull wing house. Rarely open to the public, this home, built in 1960 and designed by architect Val Powelson, features an unusual three-pointed star floor plan.
Throughout the week, mix and mingle with other modernism fans at cocktail parties held at the Horizon Hotel, Hideaway and Desert Star Hotel.
Palm Springs Modernism Week is a non-profit organization that produces this annual 11-day festival.
When it launched in 2006, the event helped fuel a revival of interest in Modernism, a design aesthetic developed during in the 1950s and 60s typified by clean, simple lines and elegant informality.
To purchase tickets and for more information, visit online at www.modernismweek.com.
The new Lautner Hotel in Desert Hot Springs!
Today, desert modernism is a much sought-after architectural genre and Palm Springs is a virtual treasure trove of custom and tract home neighborhoods and important public buildings.
Team Haverkate specializes in Mid Century Modern homes and estates for sale. After absorbing the sights and lifestyle of Palm Springs Modernism Week, contact Team Haverkate for a personal tour of desert modern classics currently for sale in the Palm Springs area.
Email agent@TeamHaverkate.com. or visit online at www.HaverkateRealEstate.com.
Check out the story on Ralph and Bettina Haverkates Joshua Tree home renovation in the February, 2012, issue of Palm Springs Life. www.palmspringslife.com.
Great Alexander Weekend's 10 Anniversary Is March 26-27,2011
Plans are underway for the 10th Anniversary of the "Great Alexander Weekend" in Palm Springs, March 26-27,2011. The Palm Springs Foundation (www.pspreservationfoundation.org ) is planning a full weekend of home tours, seminars, cocktail receptions and special tributes to one of Palm Springs' most influential and innovative home builders.
The Great Alexander Weekends and PSPF's tribute book, When Mod Went Mass, have garnered significant awareness of the Alexander-built tract homes by architect William Krisel, and helped leverage even more importance to the genre of Mid-Century Modern homes, commercial and public buildings which are prevalent throughout Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.
From as early as the 1920s and through the 1970s, an impressive roster of talented architects have been captivated by Palm Springs: R.M. Schindler, Richard Neutra, and Lloyd Wright (Frank Lloyd Wright's son); young Swiss architect Albert Frey whose work profoundly influenced desert architecture; and regional modernists William F. Cody, Donald Wexler, E. Stewart Williams and Krisel.
Each made their mark with "striking custom homes, impressive commercial complexes, hotels and motels, commanding civic and educational campuses ... and created an architectural treasury of great consequence and innovation in and around Palm Springs," writes Robert Imber in his story on The Alexander Homes (www.eichlernetwork.com/desert_chron1.html. )
Imber noted that Palm Springs remained a sleepy seasonal village until postwar American affluence and growing families began to emerge with a demand for mass market housing. Coupled with the fact that Palm Springs already was a discrete playground for Hollywood's elite, a bevy of builders and architects grew to fill the increasing demand for year round residential and well as seasonal vacation homes.
The Alexander Company, founded by George Alexander and his son Robert, was a Palm Springs based residential development company that built more than 2,200 homes in the desert between 1947 and 1965 (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Construction_Company ). The "Alexanders," as these homes are now known, doubled Palm Springs residential population, giving the city a whole new shape and direction.
Key to the Alexanders' success was the talented young architect Krisel, partner in the Los Angeles firm Palmer and Krisel, Inc. (www.psmodcom.com/Architects%20Pages/PalmerKrisel ). A close friend of Bob Alexander, Krisel came to Palm Springs at his request.
The Alexanders' foray into desert tract homes began with Twin Palms Estates, named for two palm trees included in the front landscaping of each home. Hallmarks were a single story, open floor plan with an indoor-outdoor feeling enhanced by skylights, sliding glass doors, and an interior atrium.
Three quarter walls divided the main room to provide abundant light, eliminating the need for full framed walls, molding and trim, so created a clean contemporary look. Exposed tongue-and-groove planks and beamed ceilings also enhanced the room's soaring architectural lines. The same floor plan repeated within the housing development saved construction and materials costs.
Krisel was involved with every facet of design, planning, engineering and construction. From site and landscape choices to interior colors and trim, each house was oriented and embellished differently , making the Alexanders look like a collection of individualized custom homes.
Other Palmer & Krisel projects included the Ocotillo Lodge, Las Palmas Estates (Vista Las Palmas) Racquet Club Estates, Sandpiper condominiums in Palm Desert, and the famous House of Tomorrow otherwise known as the "Honeymoon Hideaway" of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. Robert Alexander and his wife lived in this house for a time, and were featured here in Look Magazine in September, 1962.
Another well-known Alexander house in Las Palmas is the Lawford/Kennedy house, originally built for Peter Lawford, married to JFK's sister Patricia Kennedy. This house, in close proximity to Marilyn Monroe's, is supposedly where JFK and Monroe rendezvoused.
The affordable Racquet Club Road Estates (http://www.racquetclubestates.com/ ) were built by the Alexander Construction Company between 1959 and 1962. The 1,225 square foot homes were designed as weekend and vacation getaways on a concrete slab with single pane glass and without insulation. Here, too, the post and beam construction allowed the soaring roofline, open floor plan, and indoor/outdoor relationship to generous quarter-acre lots.
"Space age" utilitarian kitchens were separated from the entry way with a five-foot high wall which held an oven, gas cook top and refrigerator. Wall mounted cabinets with sliding pegboard doors above a sink in a long Formica-topped counter balanced on iron hairpin legs. A double deck island separated the kitchen from dining with a "floating" upper cabinet. At the end of a hallway, large master bedrooms featured sliding glass doors to the outside. Private master bathrooms had sunken shower/tubs and outside doors for swimmers' use. Off the hall were two bedrooms and another bathroom. In each bedroom an entire wall of closets was enclosed by sliding doors, leaving open space above to the ceiling.
The Alexanders had five distinctive rooflines: The classic butterfly; a flat roof with side or front entry; narrow gabled roof with front or side entry; wide gable roof; and side gabled roof with clerestory windows.While each house has the same floor plan, some bedrooms line up along the street front, while others are aligned along the side from front to back. The ceiling heights and use of clerestories and window arrangements change their appearance.
When new, the homes cost $19,000 plus additional options. A fireplace could be added in three of the five roofline designs and an optional swimming pool complemented the circular concrete backyard pads for only $950. The total cost of house and pool was below $20,000, quite affordable for middle income families and celebrities.
Citywide, the collection of Alexanders range from 1,225 square feet in the Racquet Club Road Estates at the north end to over 2,500 square feet in the Vista Las Palmas, Golden Vista, Mountain View, and Green Fairway Estates nearer to the center of town. These were originally priced from $16,950 to $50,000. Today, the Alexanders are highly sought after and refurbished sells from $400,000 to well over one million dollars.
While the majority of Alexander homes were designed by Palmer and Krisel, those with an A-frame facade, known as "Swiss Misses" (www.jetsetmodern.com/issue5/swissmiss.htm ) in the Green Fairway Estates (www.desertmodernism.com/greenfairway.html ) tract in south Palm Springs, were designed by architect Donald Wexler, who designed the Palm Springs International Airport.
Alexander built Swiss Miss homes are an A-frame construction with lava rock facades, Aztec motifs and Asian or South Pacific styles that were influenced by experiences in the Pacific Theater brought home by World War II soldiers. There were nine master floor plans that were repeated two or three times in the tract.
Only a limited number of Alexander homes were constructed at the Green Fairway Estates prior to 1965: tragically that year the Alexanders were killed in a private plane crash in the Little Chocolate Mountains while on a flight to Burbank.
The Great Alexander Weekend has fueled a revival of these treasures; don't miss the 10th anniversary!
For a tour of Alexander homes currently for sale in the Palm Springs area, contact Ralph Haverkate at http://www.haverkaterealestate.com//
- Pamela Bieri
Recognizing the life and work of Mid-Century Modern architect Donald Wexler. The weekend's events will include a film screening, house tours and an evening cocktail party at an exciting location in Palm Springs. http://www.pspreservationfoundation.org/
BABOLAT WORLD TENNIS CLASSIC USTA SUPER CATEGORY II TOURNAMENT
JANUARY 24 - 31, 2010
MODERNISM WEEK PALM SPRINGS
Modernism Week is coming up February 12 to 20, 2010 http://www.modernismweek.com/
Retro Martini Party - February 19, 2010 from 5-8PM
Enjoy a martini with your fellow hipsters...as you watch the sun set...from the Arthur Elrod House, one of the world's most acclaimed examples of modernist architecture.
Designed by architect John Lautner in 1968, the Elrod House entered the popular culture in 1971 as the setting for a famous scene in the James Bond "007" movie Diamonds are Forever.
Purchase your tickets early - the Retro Martini Party is the "hot" ticket of Modernism Week and tickets are limited. Remember, last year's Retro Martini Party sold out early and this year's incomparable venue will surely do the same.
Buy your tickets here: http://www.pspreservationfoundation.org/martini.html