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The Desert Modernists Video Series with Alan Hess

Learn more about the Desert Modern architecture and the renowned architects who envisioned midcentury Palm Springs. Presented by Alan Hess. $35 (45 min)
Streaming until May 31, 2021.
Category: AIA Continuing Education, Presentation, Talk


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Let Modernism Week introduce you to the Desert Modernists, the midcentury architects who envisioned Palm Springs. This video series launches thumbnail overviews by Alan Hess (author, architect and member of Modernism Week’s Board of Directors) of the consequential architects who turned Palm Springs into a renowned laboratory for Modern architecture. In the series premiere, Alan discusses “An Introduction to Desert Modern'' followed by two episodes spotlighting architects Albert Frey and William F. Cody.

Historical images and on-site touring and exploration will give you an expert's crash-course on Desert Modern architecture. Future episodes will highlight other notable desert architects. Whether you’re part of the general audience curious about what makes modernism so special, or a professional seeking fresh perspectives on this significant chapter of Modern design, “Desert Modernists” will inspire you to learn more.

More about the Desert Modernists, by Alan Hess. Palm Springs boasts a museum-quality collection of midcentury modern architecture. You already know icons like Philip Johnson’s Glass House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Mies’ Farnsworth house, and Los Angeles’ Case Study Houses. Now add Palm Springs' master architects to that list. Experimenting with an even broader range of Modern concepts and designs, Palm Springs produced Albert Frey’s tent-like house perched on a mountainside, E. Stewart Williams’ Edris house growing from its rocky site, Donald Wexler’s innovative prefab Steel houses, and Palmer & Krisel’s mass-produced Twin Palms homes, along with classic Modern icons such as Richard Neutra's Kaufmann house, John Lautner’s Elrod house, and A. Quincy Jones’ Sunnylands estate.

Midcentury Palm Springs was a major incubator for midcentury modern architectural ideas with few equals in the world. These architectural innovations are not limited to houses. Like other well-known midcentury architectural centers such as Columbus, Indiana, and Sarasota, Florida, Palm Springs’ design innovations covered every building type a city needs: schools, churches, fire stations, banks, city halls, and gas stations. Each is a gem of a Modern design, carried out by master architects, and well preserved today.


This program qualifies for .5 AIA/CES Learning Units (LU).

The organizer of this program is Modernism Week. This program is streaming through May 31, 2021.

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