The History of Palm Springs’ Mid-Century Modern Style, THE WESTCOTT

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June 20, 2015

The History of Palm Springs’ Mid-Century Modern Style

The History of Palm Springs’ Mid-Century Modern Style, THE WESTCOTT

The Palm Desert has long been a destination for the Los Angeles elite to escape from big city life to the quaint small town feeling of this mountainous haven. Over the decades, various things about the area, like the famous Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern style, erupted by partnerships among those first vacationers and visionary modernist architects, attract people from around the world to this beautiful area for relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether it’s for golf, a grand spa experience, or simply to observe and study the breathtaking Palm Springs mid-century modern style scattered throughout the desert landscape, you won’t regret a trip to this memorable area.

What is the Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern Style?

Since the 1920s, modernist architects have been designing sleek, modern homes that embrace their natural environment here in the desert. The Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern style is characterized by its reflection of the dramatic geography of this mountainous area and has long been called Desert Modernism. Noticed by its clean lines, walls of glass, and generous devotion to indoor-outdoor spaces, this form of modernism captures a life of both elegance and informality.

Architects of this era were praised for their adaptive use of innovated materials and construction methods,  as well as post-World War II technology. This reform from conventional practices and styles was necessary given the extreme climate in which Palm Springs residents subject themselves to.

Famous Palm Springs developers and architects of this 1920s era of reimagining design include:


    • Richard Neutra


    • John Launer


    • Donald Wexler


    • E. Stewart Williams


    • George and Robert Alexander


    • John Porter Clark


    • William F. Cody


    • William Krisel


    • Albert Frey



How to Enjoy the Palm Springs Mid-century Modern Style

Palm Springs was named to the National Trust of Historic Preservation in 2006, as well as a Preserve America City in 2009. As a result, there are many education and tour opportunities throughout the area that guide visitors through the wealth of brilliant design – a treasure trove for anyone remotely interested in modern architecture.


    • Tours – No matter what time of year you are visiting, Palm Springs Modern Tours are available to you. This is one of the best ways to explore the world of design in the area whether you are well versed in the subject or just looking to learn about the town’s history and beauty.


    • Modernism Week – One of the most popular events of the year, Modernism Week is a celebration and chance to foster appreciation for the wealth of midcentury design in the area. It is an event full of educational events in contemporary thinking and sustainable living, as well as elegant mid-century-themed parties at some of the area’s most notable properties.


    • POSH Palm Springs – Yet another great way to enjoy the Palm Springs’ Mid-Century Modern Style is to stay at POSH Palm Springs, a boutique bed and breakfast inn that mixes the Art Deco style of the 1930s with Mid-Century Modern decor. The courtyard pool and eclectic design will truly take you back in time.


If you’re looking for other things to do in the area besides exploring the architectural history, check out this free vacation guide full of great ideas!