Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Palm Springs Weekend: The Architecture and Design of a Midcentury Oasis Hardcover – April, 2001
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Palm Springs Weekend could have been just a breezy look at the celebrity culture of this California desert playground. Instead, Alan Hess offers an authoritative yet refreshingly nondoctrinaire view of the various ways European and American architects--some famous, some not--adapted the canons of modernism to suit the desert climate, landscape, and lifestyle. With evocative vintage photographs and an engagingly retro design by Andrew Danish, this is one of the most enjoyable popular architecture books in years.
The story begins with "the panorama of brown rock... peppered with ever-changing shadows and the unexpected desert plants that turn this great natural wall into a tapestry of texture and color." Then came the wealthy industrialists and Hollywood royalty who wanted vacation homes and were more or--at least initially--less amenable to modern design. Car culture and casual living morphed the international style into new silhouettes and textures fit for a modern oasis.
Swiss émigré Albert Frey designed minimalist houses "like tents staked in the desert." Richard Neutra's famous Kaufmann House has polished glass walls, flat, floating roofs, and luxury finishes, while John Lautner's Elrod House--seen in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever--is a futuristic concrete cave. Tract homes by William Krisel and Dan Palmer for the Alexander Company offered a mass-market modernist solution, with butterfly roofs and patterned concrete block walls crisply defined by the intense sun.
By the early '50s, local projects also included civic and commercial buildings. Memorable nonresidential projects range from William Cody's Huddle Springs restaurant, with its bold angled beams, canvas awnings, and open plan, to Victor Gruen's City National Bank, on which a sweeping curved roof reminiscent of Le Corbusier's Ronchamp chapel meets the desert opulence of gold filigree. --Cathy Curtis
From Publishers Weekly
Streamlined modernist design arrived on the West Coast in the early '20s with architects weaned on the Prairie School, and spawned a new type of city. In Palm Springs Weekend: The Architecture and Design of a Midcentury Oasis, San Jose Mercury News architecture critic Alan Hess (Rancho Deluxe) and veteran magazine art director Andrew Danish document, in 260 color and b&w photos, the process by which giant sand lots in the shadow of Mt. San Jacinto became sets of private, family-sized resorts. From the giant roadside Cabezon dinosaurs to the rustic Smoke Tree Ranch (repeatedly visited by Cary Grant), the House of Tomorrow (a retreat for the newly married Elvis and Priscilla) and the slender-columned Robinson's department store, this grand (and environmentally dubious) architectural experiment continues to retain its unique character.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top customer reviews
PSW earns high marks for balance, not focusing unduly on celebrity homes but instead providing a survey of significant commercial buildings, architectural trends and the personalities (Cody, Frey, the Alexanders) that brought the modernistic vision to life. Because of this, most readers interested in architecture will find it more useful than glamour-shot books of multi-million dollar homes behind gated walls. Several of the buildings noted are readily observable to visitors.
In addition, the authors illustrate the aspects of the culture that spawned Palm Springs. It is a remarkable journey because it is only recently that we have begun to view the 1950's, for example, as a period that has left us 'historic artifacts' worth appreciation. Less affected than neighboring LA or San Diego by overwhelming population growth, Palm Springs is something of a monument to the way things were. Hess and Danish do not overlook this.
While it is disappointing to see the cookie-cutter tract homes being built as the desert communities expand eastward, Palm Springs retains many of its unique homes, many of which are accessible to those of moderate means. PSW helps us appreciate the imaginative architects of the 'midcentury oasis', in their successes and even manages to evoke a bit of appreciation for some of the eyesores. A must read for anyone restoring or considering the purchase of a special home in this fascinating place.