Palm Springs architect William Krisel entered the arena of architecture in the boom times that followed World War II and left in 1979 when the profession became “too uptight” as a result of lawyers and stricter building codes. During his illustrative career, Krisel, now 84 and still consulting, designed more than 30,000 homes throughout Southern California, including modern tract housing for the Alexander Construction Company as well as the House of Tomorrow, a futuristic house that later became the honeymoon home of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. Here we present an extended version of our June 2009 issue Q&A with Krisel.
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Please join us for a special screening of Design Onscreen’s latest documentary film, William Krisel, Architect at The Getty Center, Los Angeles, on Tuesday, Apr. 13, 2010 at 7:00PM. A conversation between William Krisel and Wim de Wit, head of the Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art at the Getty Research Institute (GRI), will follow the screening.
Over the course of his sixty-year career, Architect William Krisel has brought “modernism to the masses,” designing more than 40,000 individual housing units across the U.S. Krisel’s influential work has come to epitomize midcentury Southern Californian design. Krisel’s archive now resides at the GRI.
William Krisel, Architect (2010), directed by Jake Gorst, explores his life and work, including his roots in 1930s China, his ground-breaking designs for modern living, and interviews with scholars, his contemporaries and family. “I’m a firm believer that good modern design can make your life happier, more productive and more enjoyable,” says Krisel.
During the 1950s, Krisel built thousands of mass-produced tract homes in Palm Springs–and throughout Southern California–and thus played a key role in establishing the desert modernism of the area. By devising airy dwellings with massive windows opening into the bright expanse of the surrounding landscape, Krisel proved that modest midcentury homes did not have to be “cracker boxes” of unimaginative and claustrophobic design.
William Krisel, Architect is produced by Design Onscreen, a Denver-based nonprofit dedicated to producing, preserving and promoting high-quality films on architecture and design.
Admission to this event is free, but a reservation is required. To make a reservation, please visitwww.getty.edu/research or call (310) 440-7300. Note, late arrivals cannot be guaranteed seating. Parking is $15.00; free after 5:00 p.m.
- In Palm Springs, California, “mid-century modern” connotes more than just Eames chairs and glass walls; it also hints at Hollywood Regency.
Great design helps us humans enjoy comfortable, modern lives and since many dogowners consider their furry friends members of their families too, shouldn’t they also benefit from good design? That's the idea behind BARKitecture CHIQue 2009, a doghouse design competition and auction that I'm here in Palm Springs, California, to help to judge and which takes place Friday, May 1 to benefit Gilda’s Club Desert Cities California.
Palm Springs is a city steeped in mid-century modern architecture and speckled with homes by design legendaries like John Lautner, W. Stewart Williams, William Krisel, Lloyd Wright, so these are not going to be your everyday doghouses but ones with thoughtful, regional, eco- and, of course, pet-friendly designs.
The BARKitecture CHIQue 2009 event takes place at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature the doghouses on display followed by an awards presentation of the top three winners and a live auction of those winner (the remaining designs will be sold in at silent auction). The proceeds benefit Gilda’s Club Desert Cities California, a support organization for people whose lives have been affected by cancer.
Check out this video clip by local station KPSP to see some of the designs that will be on display. To attend BARKitecture CHIQue 2009 call Total Marketing Partners at 760-323-3338 for tickets, $25 each. If you’re able to make it to the event, be sure to find me and say hello! —Miyoko Ohtake
- Architect Donald Wexler was thinking prefab long before prefab was popular. One of Palm Springs's "big five" modernists—along with being William F.
- I posted some of the mid-century buildings in my last Borrego Springs update, but over the course of my three days in the desert I visited a half dozen really beautiful homes.
- William Krisel knows architecture. The 84-year old architect has been licensed for a remarkable 59 years. The Getty Museum has just acquired his papers.
- Fifty years ago William Krisel helped shape the look of modern design that has become synonymous with Southern California.
- Palm Springs is one of our perennial favorite destinations for design; the region is positively riddled with midcentury modern architecture and vintage shops, and the natural landscape is…