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ALBERT FREY, FAIA, was born 1903 in Switzerland, and
earned his architecture diploma there in 1924. He moved to Paris
in 1928 to work for Le Corbusier, on projects including the Villa
Moving to New York in 1930, Frey was the first Corbusier
disciple to work in the U.S. There, he became partners with
architect A. Lawrence Kocher, who was also managing editor of
Architectural Record magazine. Together they published numerous
articles on urban planning, the modernist aesthetic, and technology.
Kocher and Frey also designed four buildings, including the
acclaimed Aluminaire House, a demonstration house designed for
the Exhibition of the Architectural League in New York, 1931.
In 1934, Frey came to Palm Springs to supervise construction
of the Kocher-Samson Building, a mixed-use building for his partner’s
brother, J.J. Kocher. Frey fell in love with the area, and worked
with John Porter Clark for two years under the offices of Van
Pelt and Lind as neither architect was yet licensed in California.
Returning to New York in 1937 to work on the Museum of Modern
Art, Frey moved back to Palm Springs permanently two years
later. Rejoining Clark in a partnership, Frey went onto design a
body of work including residential, commercial, institutional and
civic buildings. Many of these buildings are preserved today
including Raymond Loewy House (1946-47),
Palm Springs City
Hall (1952), Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Valley Station (1963) and
Frey House II (1963-64) and the most recently restored North Shore
Yacht Club at the Salton Sea (1958).
Frey lived in Palm Springs until his death in 1998. As Palm
Springs’ first full-time, resident architect, Frey is known as one
of the founders of Desert Modernism.