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Desert Modernism Timeline

1922

R. M. Schindler designs first modern building in the desert: a cabin for Paul and Betty Popenoe in Coachella

1923

Oasis Hotel, a Modern masterpiece in slip-form concrete, designed by Lloyd Wright

1928

El Mirador Hotel opens on New Year’s Eve

1933

William Gray Purcell builds cubist modern house

1934

Albert Frey, with New York partner A. Lawrence Kocher, designs International Style Kocher-Samson office building

1935

Avant garde all-concrete Community Church on Baristo Road built, designed by Charles Tanner

1936

La Plaza Shopping Center, designed by Harry Williams, introduced as one of the first car-oriented shopping centers in America

1936

Eric Webster and Adrian Wilson design streamline/nautical Moderne “Ship of the Desert”

1937

Richard Neutra designs Grace Lewis Miller house that includes her Mensendieck posture therapy studio

1939

John Porter Clark builds International Style house for his family on former El Mirador golf course

1939

Palm Springs Women’s Club designed by John Porter Clark

1941

Welwood Murray Library designed by John Porter Clark

1946

Albert Frey builds house for famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy in what is becoming the Desert Modern architectural style that he and others are pioneering

1946-47

Neutra’s Kaufmann house, where photographer Julius Shulman would take one of his most famous photographs, built on West Vista Chino

1947

E. Stewart Williams designs Frank Sinatra house

1947

Maryon Toole House designed by R. M. Schindler in Palm Desert

1947

William F. Cody designs the Del Marcos Motel, which wins an AIA prize

1947

Mountainside additions to the Tennis Club designed by architects A. Quincy Jones and Paul R. Williams

1950

Town & Country Center built in the Late Moderne style with design by A. Quincy Jones and Paul R. Williams

1952

The Oasis Commercial Building, an early International Style structure, designed by E. Stewart Williams and erected adjacent to Lloyd Wright’s Oasis Hotel tower. Interiors by Paul R. Williams

1953

Albert Frey remodels the house he built for himself in 1940 and adds a futuristic, spaceship-like second story

1953

Edris House, designed by E. Stewart Williams, completed

1956

Ocotillo Lodge, a collaboration between the Alexander Company and the architectural firm of William “Bill” Krisel and Dan Saxon Palmer, opens

1952 – 1957

Palm Springs City Hall, designed by Albert Frey and John Porter Clark and the firm of Williams, Williams & Williams, is built

1957

Twin Palms, tract homes built for the Alexander Construction Company, designed by William Krisel of Palmer and Krisel. Designs establish template for affordable desert modern homes

1957

William Cody’s Huddle’s Springs restaurant, a superior example of Googie style, opens

1958

William Pereira and Charles Luckman design Robinson’s Department Store

1958

Sandpiper condominium development opens in Palm Desert with architecture and landscape designs by William Krisel

1958

Santa Fe Federal Savings Building by E. Stewart Williams completed

1959

City National Bank (now Bank of America) opens, designed by Rudy Baumfeld of Victor Gruen Associates. Homage to Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp chapel built five years earlier

1959

Construction begins on Spa Bathhouse and Hotel designed by architects Cody, Wexler, Harrison and Koenig

1960

E. Stewart Williams designs Coachella Valley Savings and Loan #3

1960

Alpha Beta Shopping Center built, designed by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers

1960

666 Palm Canyon Drive building designed by Howard and Lawrence Lapham

1960-62

William Cody designs futuristic gas station on North Palm Canyon

1961-62

Seven experimental Alexander steel houses built, some with folded plate roofs, with designs by Donald Wexler

1962

House of Tomorrow designed by Palmer and Krisel for Bob Alexander in Las Palmas completed. Best known as Elvis honeymoon hideaway

1962

Maslon house, designed by Richard Neutra, completed at Tamarisk Country Club in Rancho Mirage

1963

Albert Frey builds another house for himself on a steep lot with a boulder as a room divider and practical aluminum roof

1963-65

Tramway gas station, designed by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers, built on North Palm Canyon

1968

Elrod House, famed for its part in the James Bond film, Diamonds are Forever, designed by John Lautner

1968

St. Theresa Parish Church designed by William Cody

1968

Max Palevsky House designed by Craig Ellwood

1973

John Lautner designs turtle-shell roofed Bob Hope House

1975

Palm Springs Library Center designed by William Cody

1976

Palm Springs Desert Museum opens, designed by E. Stewart Williams

1978

Lowslung organic Charthouse restaurant opens, designed by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg

1995

Marmol Radziner Associates restores Neutra’s Kaufmann House

2007

New and replica designs of mid-century modern houses appear in the desert

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