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By Morgan Craft

Ever wanted to swing into the chic desert abodes of Frank Sinatra, Liz Taylor and Steve McQueen? How about reliving the fight scene in the James Bond thriller “Diamonds are Forever”? Then slip on those vintage slacks and take in the desert’s coolest international architecture gathering.
 The Elrod House, seen in "Diamonds Are Forever"
The Palm Springs Modernism Week, the only event of its kind in the country, has become one of the desert’s main events, and with over 40 stylish and educational events around the city, this year’s 5th annual week is expected to be bigger than ever.   (Click to read more...)
 The Buchan/Rook House in Palm Springs
Modernism aficionados from around the globe will be arriving in large numbers to join locals for the fun-filled 10-day celebration which pays homage to the ideals and perennial retro grooviness of mid-century modern design, architecture and culture. From the 12th to the 21st, architecture, design and style devotees will fan out across the town for cocktail parties, home tours, a fashion event, vintage car show, lectures, films, and a modernism show at the Palm Springs Convention Center on the 13th and 14th. Now in its 9th year, the Palm Springs Modernism Show has become one of the country’s premier marketplaces for national and international modernist decorative and fine arts.

Palm Springs has become increasingly regarded for its unmatched collection of midcentury modern architecture, and along with a passionate preservation movement has maintained, and preserved, many of these iconic structures. The Palm Springs Art Museum began hosting its popular annual architecture symposium and home tour in 1999 which helped spark the appreciation for Palm Springs' architecture.

The Museum’s efforts to shine a light on the city’s renowned midcentury modern architects generated interest in the city’s astonishing concentration of mid-century architecture. The town is widely acknowledged as one of the premier architectural locations in the country, which has become a growing draw for architecture lovers worldwide with its new “mod Tourism” niche.
 The Sinatra House in Twin Palms
“The City of Palm Springs is proud to welcome modernism aficionados to enjoy our cache of midcentury modern architecture which is among the world’s largest,” said Mayor Steve Pougnet. “This is one of the many characteristics that create our unique Palm Springs tourism experience.”

Special events this year focus on the architecture of iconic midcentury modern architects Albert Frey and William Kreisel. Frey, whose star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars is set to be unveiled on Friday the 12th at 2pm, at 300 South Palm Canyon Drive, is the designer of midcentury icons Frey House II, Palm Springs City Hall, Tramway Station and numerous other significant structures. Tours of Frey House II, the iconic home he designed for himself in the rocks above town will be taking place regularly. A just-released film highlighting the work of William Kreisel, famous as the architect of the Palm Springs “Alexander” homes, will be shown at the Camelot Theater on Sunday the 14th at 7:30pm.
 The Frey II House in Palm Springs
Other events will focus on the work of architects Richard Neutra, Rem Koolhaus and John Lautner, with still another on famous modernism photographer Julius Schulman.

A gala benefit taking place at the rarely-seen estate of cooler-than-cool actor Steve McQueen is set for Saturday the 13th, and as is a “retro martini party” on Friday the 19th at Lautner’s famous Elrod house, made famous in James Bond’s “Diamonds Are Forever”. The Palm Springs Preservation foundation will also be offering tours of Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate, on Thursday the 18th, from 10:30 to 2pm.

Events fill up early, so make sure to visit the psmodcom.org website for information. Updates to the event schedule and tickets for Modernism Week 2010 can be purchased at modernismweek.com.

The event is sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, California Preservation Foundation, Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Palm Springs Modern Committee.

1 Response to "Modernism Week Showcases Palm Springs’ Architectural Wow Factor"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    This Look like this a great event to attend....