Palm Springs is famous for its Mid Century Modern architecture, and one of the most famous masterpieces of all is the Elvis Honeymoon House. While enjoying your Palm Springs Vacation, come see why this attraction belongs on your list of things to see when you're visiting the Desert.
"Elvis has left the building," but you can still visit where Elvis stayed in Palm Springs. If you're an Elvis fan, you already know that he lived and honeymooned here.
Can you picture Elvis softly singing the Hawaiian Wedding Song to Priscilla as they crossed the threshold at the Honeymoon Hideaway? While Elvis and Priscilla had planned to have their wedding there also, they were chased away by paparazzi thanks to Rona Barrett, the famous gossip columnist who also lived in the area.
Instead of the pool-side wedding they were going to have, Elvis and Priscilla went off to Vegas thanks to their friend, Frank Sinatra, lending them use of his private jet. They returned for their honeymoon night and lived in Palm Springs for about two years.
Palm Springs has its own undeniable (and arguably world-famous) style. It also has attitude. Combine the two and what frequently comes to mind are the iconic modern-style houses of the late 50s and early 60s. Like famous works of art, these houses are referred to by the names of their architects and though Palm Springs has "Alexanders" a-plenty, there is much to be said for the "Meiselmans" as well. Jack Meiselman, that is.
From 1959-1960, Meiselman constructed nearly 200 houses in Palm Springs. While this may seem like quite a lot, the Alexander Construction Company produced about 2,500 similar houses around the same time, making Meiselman houses the truly rarer gems. Another unique aspect that differentiates Meiselmans from Alexanders is placement. Meiselman preferred to construct his houses with only one or two at a location, scattered throughout the city; the Alexander Construction Company, however, bought up huge plots of land, frequently building hundreds of houses at one site.
Simple elegance and clean lines are two of the many coveted features that define the mid century modern Alexander Construction Company homes of Palm Springs. Built between 1955 and 1965, the 2200+ "Alexanders" comprise 11 neighborhoods, and these homes are very much in demand today by people of every generation.
Alexander's foray into Palm Springs began with the construction of The Ocotillo Lodge, which today is a condo-style hotel but still remains a pillar of mid century modern style. The company then began focusing on building stylish tract homes that could be "efficiently produced", but since this type of home was considered revolutionary and had thus far been untested, Mr. Alexander built the first ten homes as an experiment to see if the public would be interested in them. With over two thousand homes built in ten years, we'd say the experiment was most definitely a success!
Back in the mid-1960s, a historic estate was about to emerge in Rancho Mirage when Walter and Leonore Annenberg contracted architect A. Quincy Jones to design their mid-century modern winter home, Sunnylands estate.
The home is a glowing example of Jones' unique style, including overhangs that shield rooms from direct sun while still allowing outdoor ambiance and brightness to grace the interior through the full glass walls. Sunnylands also boasts a signature "statement roof" of Jones' in the form of a pink pyramid. Inside, the open floor plan creates a flow that echoes the vast spread of the surrounding gardens, a favorite of Leonore.
Are you an avid fan of all things mid-century? Ever been to Palm Springs? If not, you're missing the mecca of all things mid-century modern. More specifically, you're missing the monumental mid-century architecture in Palm Springs, with so many marvels to behold it's breath-taking. So what are you waiting for, mid-century enthusiasts? Pack your bags and head to Palm Springs.
The sheer number of mid-century buildings will make your head spin, but why not start with one of the stars: Richard Neutra's beautifully restored Kaufmann house. It's a must see for any mid-century modern enthusiast. The iconic Kaufmann Desert House is considered one of the top architectural monuments in North America. Designed in 1946, for the same family as commission the Falling Water House by Frank Loyd Wright (also considered a top architectural destination), this brilliant home was created to both blend with and offset its desert environment. With its stark outlines, walls of windows, use of locally quarried stone and classic Neutra design, it stands as a star example of mid-century architecture in Palm Springs.
Save the date - the fabulous Modernism Week FALL PREVIEW is set for October 21-23, 2016, kicking off Palm Springs' active social and recreational season. The preview will showcase midcentury modern design, fashion, art, architecture, and culture of the Palm Springs area.
This highly anticipated event will be held at various locations throughout the Palm Springs area and is a preview of the Modernism Week festival scheduled for February 16-26, 2017. The fall preview will feature some of the best events planned for the upcoming February festival - visit notable architectural sites on walking or bike tours; enjoy fabulous home tours; mingle at festive cocktail parties; attend interesting lectures; view classic cars; enjoy a Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour and visit the Modernism Show & Sale. There are so many diverse things to do, it'll be a Columbus Day weekend you'll always remember.
The progressive design of midcentury modern architecture emphasizes linear simplicity that so many people find desirable today. Built between 1945 and 1975, these structures take many different forms, from homes to gas stations.
Midcentury architecture is particularly popular among baby boomers, whose childhood memories revolve around events involving these vintage structures. Its transparent, honest simplicity of design is also highly appreciated in a sort of backlash way against the complex technology-driven, fast-paced contemporary world we live in.
You can find plenty of midcentury architecture in Palm Springs - here are a few places to explore as they take you back to another time.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, also called The Palm Springs Tram, is the epitome of midcentury design. Completed in 1963, it not only gives you an ideal view of midcentury modern architecture, it also affords the best aerial views of the Greater Palm Springs area. The ride from the Valley Station takes you to the Mountain Station, both of which were designed by important midcentury architects.