The houses were to be built by the Alexander Company, a large developer in the area who fabricated thousands of houses based on designs by architects such as William Krisel (another big five designer) and Charles Dubois. Wexler’s idea was that steel was the best material for building in a desert and pitched it to the Alexanders as an affordable housing solution. His design consisted of a concrete slab on which prefabricated kitchen and bath units were installed and the rest of the house built up around this center core. The whole house could be built in two days and sold at $14,000.
Unfortunately, Wexler’s great idea was stopped short due to the rise in steel prices. Seven of the steel houses were completed and all but one has been restored to its original condition and noted as a Class 1 historical site. While I was in Palm Springs to join in its Modernism Week, architecture tour guide Robert Imber gave us a peak inside one of these remaining Steel Houses.
When not writing, Miyoko Ohtake can be found cooking, training for her next marathon, and enjoying all that the City by the Bay and the great outdoors have to offer.