If you’re looking for an oasis in both delightful weather and mid-century architecture, then you should pack your bikini and sunglasses and hit the road for Palm Springs. This sunny location is teeming with pristine examples of mid-century modern homes and public buildings. From quaint homes to expansive estates, Palm Springs is the proud home to hundreds of structures from some of the foremost architects of the mid-century style.
History of Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Palm Springs
This particular brand of architecture has been fondly referred to as “desert modernism”. It was shaped from the necessity of architecture that could survive a relatively harsh desert environment and a need to embrace the stunning vistas of the area. Palm Springs became a popular tourist destination in the 1900s when people began to realize how beneficial the dry heat and year-round sunshine was for their health. As more people visited, it slowly grew in its luxuriousness and began to attract the Hollywood elite. By the late 1920s, anybody who was somebody in society was either living or vacationing in Palm Springs.
With the area basically overflowing in wealth and prestige, the town began to take shape into what it is today. Architects took advantage of the wealth and began to experiment with design and style that wasn’t seen anywhere else. Designers put an emphasis on a “back to the land” experience that drew its inspiration from the desert while encouraging the elite’s life of leisure. Many of the area architects were inspired by the great Frank Lloyd Wright who made the International Style so popular. The movement birthed its own style, historically dubbed the Mid Century Modern Style.
Characteristics of Mid Century Modern Homes
Palm Springs mid century modern homes have a variety of unique characteristics. Mid-century homes tended to be on two ends of a spectrum: cookie cutter or astonishingly unique. The Palm Springs mid-century home falls in the middle.
First, the floor plan is open and streamlined with a dramatic roof line. Windows are large, often floor-to-ceiling, to offer stunning views of the desert landscape. The post and beam construction allows for exposed wood beams for extra character. Glass walls incorporate the use of modern materials like wood, stone, metal, and even plastic. The outdoors are brought inside with generous outdoor living spaces and an incorporation of outdoor landscaping inside the home. One of the most popular features of a Palm Springs mid-century is the expansive pool in almost every backyard.
The style of these homes utilizes the abundance of sunshine while using materials that blend in with the natural surroundings. You truly can’t own a more important piece of Palm Springs history than a mid-century home–and you never know what celebrities might have walked the hallways of your home.