Desert Modernism

Posted By: Palm Springs Insider Friday, February 25, 2011

Frey II HousePalm Springs has one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern architecture in the world. Since the 1920’s, visionary modernist architects have designed sleek, modern homes that have embraced the desert environment. The dramatic geographic surroundings of the Coachella Valley inspired a design aesthetic in the middle of the 20th Century now called Desert Modernism.

Notable for its use of glass, clean lines, natural and manufactured resources and indoor/outdoor spaces, Desert Modernism evoked a lifestyle of simple elegance and informality. Influenced by the dictates of desert living and the intense climate, the style grew out of the architects and designer's adaptive use of inventive materials, modern construction techniques, new (post-war) technologies...and served an enthusiastic and willing clientele.

Talented architects were drawn to the desert by chance and opportunity. They created notable buildings of every type: residential, commercial, civic, religious, hotels, schools, cultural, etc.

Palm Springs architects and developers of the era include:

  • Richard Neutra

  • John Lautner

  • Donald Wexler

  • Albert Frey

  • William "Bill" Krisel, Palmer and Krisel, Inc.

  • William F. Cody

  • John Porter Clark

  • George and Robert Alexander (land developers and builders)

  • E. Stewart Williams

For more information about Palm Springs architects and its famed architecture, please visit


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