An Insider's Guide to Palm Springs Modernism Week 2019

If you haven't already marked your calendar—now's the time. Here’s how to make the most of Palm Springs Modernism Week.

Slated for February 14–24, Palm Springs Modernism Week is fast approaching. The annual event celebrates modern architecture, design, art, and vintage culture in the midcentury mecca. So start picking out your favorite mod outfits, and read on to learn how to make the most of the ten-day event.

Pro tip: Although some of the tours have already sold out, additional events have just been added, so book your tickets online at Modernism Week's website. Here are some of the highlights that are still available as of publication: 

What to See

This home in the Park Imperial South neighborhood features an iconic folded-plate roof inspired by the peaks of the nearby Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains.

Park Imperial South Home Tour – February 15th 

Designed as a "Living Resort" in 1960 by the then-25-year-old architect, Barry Berkus, the Park Imperial South neighborhood showcases an innovative approach to modern desert living. Each of the 1,400-square-foot homes features cutting-edge midcentury architecture. The neighborhood consists of 30 homes—many of which have been methodically restored—and six homes will be on display.

Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67

Keynote Speech by Starchitect Moshe Safdie – February 16th

This is a rare opportunity to hear the internationally acclaimed architect speak about his 50-plus-year career. Safdie is responsible for iconic projects such as Montreal's Habitat 67 and Singapore's Marina Bay Sands (you may know it from its appearance in Crazy Rich Asians).

The Palm Springs Modern Committee relocated and reconstructed a full-scale replica of architect Paul Rudolph's 1952 Walker Guest House. It's currently on loan from the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.

Paul Rudolph: 100 years of Space and Form – February 17th 

This introduction to the work of one of America's leading midcentury architects, Paul Rudolph, includes a tour of the Walker Guest House Replica. Celebrated for his contributions to the modern movement, Rudolph is known for his seminal role in defining the Sarasota School of Architecture in the 1950s. The symposium is a journey through Paul Rudolph’s life narrated by a stellar group of panelists who experienced a close connection to the architect. If you can't make it, you can also tour the Walker Guest House on other dates. Pro tip: This event qualifies for AIA CES Learning Units.

The Coachella Valley Savings Building No. 2 designed by E. Stuart Willams. 

Illuminated Modern Sunset Bus Tour – Multiple Dates

Although the wildly popular Charles Phoenix "Super Duper Double-Decker Bus Tour" is already sold out, you can still book a ticket for an evening double-decker bus tour that showcases architecturally significant midcentury facades that have been illuminated along Palm Canyon Drive and the surrounding neighborhoods. If this is your first trip to Palm Springs, this is a great way to see the sights and get a good lay of the land. Pro tip: This event even qualifies for AIA CES Learning Units.

The Axiom Desert House celebrates desert design that is elegant and replicable. Its open plan, indoor/outdoor flow, and innovative use of materials and space are a testament to modern prefab.

Axiom Desert House – Multiple Dates 

Making its debut at Modernism Week 2019, the Axiom Desert House by Turkel Design is a stunning, midcentury-inspired, 2,110-square-foot modern prefab. The project will serve as the home of its designers, Joel and Meelena Turkel, as well as a "living lab" for design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. Designing their future family home allowed the founders of Turkel Design to dive deep into the design and building process for prefab homes. Pro Tip: Turkel Design will offer a private stay at Axiom Desert House to one home tour attendee and a guest. 

The Christopher Kennedy Compound remodel respects the modernist property’s architectural pedigree while updating it with the best of modern design.

Modernism Week Show House: The Christopher Kennedy Compound – Multiple Dates 

Interior designer Christopher Kennedy called upon a dozen of the nation’s notable interior designers to create unique rooms in this showcase house. Located on the golf course in the posh Indian Canyons neighborhood, the 3600-square-foot, 1962 property features a complete renovation spearheaded by Kennedy specifically for Modernism Week. The Christopher Kennedy Compound will raise funds for Modernism Week and other preservation efforts. 

Modernism Week Featured Home Tours

Each year Modernism Week offers exclusive tours of featured homes. 

The high gable roofline is a hallmark of midcentury modern architecture. 

Green Gables: Built in 1958 by Palmer & Krisel, this three-bedroom, two-bath home has undergone a full renovation by H3K Design.

La Vie en Rose: Interior designer Christopher Kennedy renovated this quintessential midcentury property. Built in 1958, the posh Vista Las Palmas home is set against the spectacular scenery of the San Jacinto Mountains.

This is the seventh (and possibly the last) Desert Eichler to be completed in Palm Springs.

Desert Eichler: This newly-built residence by KUD Properties is a replica of the original homes designed by Joseph Eichler, but modernized for today’s standard of living.

Be one of the first to experience this meticulously preserved hillside home.

The Forgotten Frey: The Cree House is one of architect Albert Frey’s most intact residential works—and it has been meticulously preserved and restored to nearly its original 1955 condition. The home has been owned by a single family, and it has never been showcased to the public. Pro tip: Don't miss this one—tours will be offered daily.

Where to Stay

A 23-foot-tall brise soleil flanks the entrance of the Parker Palm Springs.

Parker Palm Springs

One of the best ways to dive into the Palm Springs lifestyle is to experience a stay at the Parker Palm Springs. The hotel features an iconic and highly Instagrammable brise soleil facade and luxuriously groovy interiors recently updated by Jonathan Adler. Inside, a cheeky, hedonistic, elegant mix of pristine midcentury modern pieces blends with Adler’s period-appropriate creations.

The Parker's interior is cozy and welcoming. Jonathan Adler wanted guests to feel like they were visiting "the estate of your favorite glamorous, global, great aunt who you wish you had but never did."

A recent member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the Parker Palm Springs boasts thirteen lushly-planted acres, three pools, hammocks strung between palm trees, a fire pit, and petanque. The in-house spa, ironically dubbed the "Palm Springs Yacht Club" was also recently redesigned by Adler and features a jaunty nautical theme that harkens back to its original roots.

The Parker's Mini Bar is the perfect spot to cap off a busy day at Modernism Week. 

The dining choices at the Parker are some of the best in town and range from the family-friendly, bright and sunny Norma's, which offers all-day breakfast with a smile, to more romantic spots like Mr. Parker, a dark and atmospheric French bistro, and Counter Reformation, a "hidden" wine bar serving a wide range of small plates that is tucked into a quiet corner of the resort.

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The desert-chic property is a luxury no-kids-allowed getaway with a private club-like feel. The top-notch design helped earn the property it's a spot as a recent member of Leading Hotels of the World.


Located just minutes from downtown Palm Springs, L’Horizon was originally a favorite midcentury hideaway for the Hollywood elite, attracting guests that included Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable. The historic property was built in 1952 by renowned midcentury architect William F. Cody, and it was recently completely restored by LA–based residential designer Steve Hermann.

L'Horizon's main house and the 25 desert chic bungalows were originally built as a vacation getaway for Hollywood producer Jack Wrather—of Lassie and Lone Ranger fame. Designer Steve Hermann recently added an open-air spa and an alfresco restaurant. 

The updates pay homage to the property’s heritage: Hermann gutted the interiors and made contemporary updates while still working within the framework of the original midcentury architecture. He was guided by the question: "What would Cody have designed if he made this property today?"

Visit Modernism Week for further information on the events of the 2019 event.


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