Midweek Modness: Palm Springs
While we were in the Inland Empire for Coachella, we stayed in Palm Springs, home of the highest concentration of mid century modern architecture in America. Saturday morning I got up early to beat the heat and take a self guided tour of these desert modern buildings.
Desert modern features international style flourishes such as big swooping arches, oversized windows and free form shapes. Yet it’s heavily influenced by the southwestern vernacular–low rise silhouettes, Pueblo-style curves, Adobe and stucco finishes. And there’s a distinctly drab colour palette which keeps it from looking too kitschy. It’s also somewhat seductive to see whole streets lined with A Frame Motels and bungalow ranch style homes.
Palm Springs is proud of its collection of modernist architecture and markets That heritage to tourists, just as Miami Beach offers tours of its Art Deco district. My tour didn’t work out exactly as planned: even at 9 am it was getting too hot to walk around in the desert. And I got lost. And even though it’s pretty, Palm Springs is, at heart, a sleepy place where retirees play golf, and the architecture reflects that.