About the Author
Lauren Weiss Bricker: Lauren Weiss Bricker, PhD, is professor of architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and Director of the Archives-Special Collections in the College of Environmental Design.
Sidney Williams: Sidney Williams is curator of architecture and design at the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Bernard Perlin: Bernard Perlin was working for a Los Angeles steel company, Calcor Corps., and knew about Wexler's steel schools. He approached him in 1958 with another idea the company was developing - steel houses. "I came by with as big a sample of a wall system as I could carry," Perlin remembers. The system used light-gauge structural steel and prefabricated panels and roofing. U.S. Steel and Bethlehem Steel helped fund the project, hoping to develop new markets for their products. In the early 1960s, for the developers George and Robert Alexander, Wexler and his engineer, Bernard Perlin, designed a neighborhood of 38 flat- or folded-roofed all-steel homes at the edge of Palm Springs. Seven were built, and seven remain, a monument to a time that dreamed of steel, and pleasant places to live. They began by building a house for Perlin, on a hillside site in Los Angeles that today overlooks the Getty Museum. "For my house, I even went beyond overboard," he says. "The insides of the walls are steel. There's nothing that's not steel in our house other than the cabinets." Perlin still lives there. "It's relatively maintenance free," he says. "I painted it twice."