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Architects Who Built Palm Springs: A. Quincy Jones

A Quincy Jones

Archibald Quincy Jones, whom most refer to as A. Quincy Jones, was an architect from Los Angeles who designed many glamorous midcentury modern homes. After graduating in architecture from the University of Washington in 1936, he began his career in Los Angeles. From 1939 to 1940, Jones worked for Paul R. Williams, with whom he later collaborated on three Palm Springs projects.

From 1942 to 1945, Jones served in the U.S. Navy, then returned to Los Angeles and opened his architectural office, A. Quincy Jones & Associates. The company won the coveted American Institute of Architects Architectural Firm award for “overall achievement in architecture” in 1969. Jones personally was the recipient of more than 70 citations for excellence in his field. He collaborated with many architects, including Paul R. Williams, for several Palm Springs projects.

Jones was a professor and later dean at the University of Southern California School of Architecture from 1951 through 1967. In the 1960s, Jones designed several university campus buildings and larger office buildings.

In 1964, Jones designed the 32,000 sq. ft. Rancho Mirage home of Walter Annenberg, “Sunnylands.” Quincy Jones transformed the California tract house into a logically designed structure integrated into the landscape and surrounded by greenbelts, popularizing the informal, outdoor-oriented lifestyle. His larger buildings saw innovations in mechanical systems integration and utilizing space efficiently. Jones’ focus on detail, siting, and sense of aesthetic style make his buildings supreme examples of midcentury American Architecture.

A Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones became an expert at designing for the harsh desert climate. His approach included the use of wide overhangs that provided much-needed shade against the direct sun exposure during the summer. In the winter, when the sun was lower in the sky, the sun would heat the structures through solar gain. The use of turned-down eaves and vertical louvers on the west façades protected structures from heat gain in the late afternoon when the sun was lowest in the sky. These were features far ahead of their time.

Palm Springs Tennis Club Addition (1947) – 701 W Baristo Road

Pearl McManus, a Palm Springs pioneer, had built the Tennis Club with great fanfare. She was known for her astute real estate dealings and political connections. “Auntie Pearl” began her tennis club with only two courts and an elegant clubhouse built just below her pink mansion in 1937.

In 1939 Pearl hired Tony Burke, a local real estate entrepreneur and avid Palm Springs booster, as club manager. Things happened immediately under Tony’s direction. He installed the first bowling green in Palm Springs, and it became an instant success. A vigorous membership campaign brought many new members from the ranks of Tony’s friends in show business. Among the first were Ronald Coleman and Gilbert Roland (an accomplished player). The next innovation was the creation of a trout stream that ran through the club grounds and was fed by melted snow descending from Mt. San Jacinto. Tony arranged for trout to be transplanted from the Whitewater hatchery to the stream. Members caught beautiful trout, which were then prepared in the kitchen for dinner.

The Tennis Club additions were a joint design project of Paul Williams and A. Quincy Jones. Their vision transformed the existing Amalfi monastery-style inspired club with its traditional tennis courts, swimming pool, and dining room into a complex that organically fits the desert environment.

The addition was a more sophisticated version, emphasizing solid volume, the natural wood and stone of the surrounding environment, and unpainted brick and wrap-around glass tying the outdoors to the indoors. Besides expanding and renovating the kitchen, swimming, and tennis areas, the plans grew to include a new main dining room, the Bougainvillea Room, a snack bar, a cocktail lounge with a terrace for outdoor dining, and a lawn terrace for lounging and sunbathing.

A Quincy Jones A Quincy Jones A Quincy Jones

 Town & Country (1948) – 169 N. Indian Canyon

Originally opening as “The Center,” it was constructed in multiple phases on land owned by the Bank of America. It was later dubbed the Town & Country Center.

Quincy Jones and Paul R. Williams designed the expansive courtyard sandwiched between Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon Drives, giving an inner sanctum for people to gather and cross paths.

It is considered an outstanding example of international-style architecture, emphasizing volume over mass. The west side’s semicircular structure with faceted plate glass and an overhang between the first and second floors is a combination of streamline modern, emphasizing sleekness, and rectilinear international style. A floating staircase rises from the asymmetrical platform.

The project so successfully drew in customers that the owner pushed to remodel the entire block, and construction continued until 1955. Other architects who put their touches on the property included Albert Frey, John Porter Clark, Donald Wexler, and Richard Harrison.

It became a Class 1 Historic site in April of 2016.

A Quincy Jones A Quincy Jones

 Bank of America (1949) – 146-150 North Palm Canyon Drive

Paul Williams and Quincy Jones designed this building that was part of the Town & Country complex. This is now retail stores along Palm Canyon.

A Quincy Jones

 The Jerome J. Robinson House (1957) – 999 North Patencio Road

This is a 6,307 sq. ft, 3-bedroom, 6-bathroom home with an office suite addition to the master bedroom (1971). Very wide overhangs protect the southern façade, and Jones’ signature wide canopy leads to the entrance positioned deep in the house. Inside, a refreshing interior garden separates the lounge from the dining room.

The home was used in the film Ocean’s 11.

 Country Club Estates Condo (1965) – La Vern Way, South Camino Real

This is a low-density complex of 30 midcentury modern residences sitting on a 4.6-acre parcel in the South of Palm Springs. Many homes are U-shaped and anchored by a small interior courtyard. The walls feature cinderblocks to help bring the outside inside.

A Quincy Jones


Romanoffs on the Rocks (1950) – 67399 E. Palm Canyon (Highway 111)

A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons were the architects. It changed names and closed in 1962. It turned into a nightclub called Pompeii and later burned down as a result of arson.

A Quincy Jones

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