Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed

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A new book explores the legacy of modernist icon William Krisel.

William Krisel's Palm Springs (Gibbs Smith) is the first major monograph dedicated to the architect, who helped introduce the modern aesthetic to the desert city on a mass scale. He designed countless examples of the tract house, which Alan Hess describes in the book as "the basic building block of the modern suburban metropolises growing after 1945." Krisel's single-family homes embraced the more contemporary post-war lifestyle with open-plan layouts and a connection to the outdoors. Here, we've gathered a few of our favorite examples of his architecture from the book, which prove his role in cementing the midcentury style of Palm Springs.

Modern home with Exterior, House, Mid-Century Building Type, and Butterfly RoofLine. A tract house with a butterfly roof designed in 1956 for Joe Dunas. Photo  of Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed

A tract house with a butterfly roof designed in 1956 for Joe Dunas.

Modern home with Exterior, House, Mid-Century Building Type, Flat RoofLine, Brick Siding Material, and Concrete Siding Material. Another 1956 tract house with a flat roof designed by Krisel. Photo  of Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed

Another 1956 tract house with a flat roof designed by Krisel.

Modern home with Bedroom and Bed. Krisel designed the Ocotillo Lodge, a hotel that featured a number of his signature design moves: post-and-beam construction, walls of glass, and an indoor/outdoor element, among others. Pictured here is the interior of one of the hotel's bungalows. Photo  of Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed

Krisel designed the Ocotillo Lodge, a hotel that featured a number of his signature design moves: post-and-beam construction, walls of glass, and an indoor/outdoor element, among others. Pictured here is the interior of one of the hotel's bungalows.

Modern home with Exterior, Mid-Century Building Type, and House. The Sandpiper is a group of nine real estate subdivisions (306 homes in total), designed by Krisel and built between 1958 and 1969. Krisel also did all the landscape design for the site. Photo  of Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed

The Sandpiper is a group of nine real estate subdivisions (306 homes in total), designed by Krisel and built between 1958 and 1969. Krisel also did all the landscape design for the site.

Modern home with Exterior, Mid-Century Building Type, House, and Flat RoofLine. A home in Krisel's Kings Point development, an 11-acre site off of the Canyon Country Club golf course that was designed in the early 1960s. Photo  of Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed

A home in Krisel's Kings Point development, an 11-acre site off of the Canyon Country Club golf course that was designed in the early 1960s.

Modern home with Exterior, Mid-Century Building Type, House, and Butterfly RoofLine. Krisel was also known for his boldly modern approach to landscape. The Menrad residence, shown here, features a distinct geometric design. The architect, working in the harsh Palm Springs climate, relied on hardscape elements—setting a precedent for drought-tolerant landscape design. Photo  of Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed

Krisel was also known for his boldly modern approach to landscape. The Menrad residence, shown here, features a distinct geometric design. The architect, working in the harsh Palm Springs climate, relied on hardscape elements—setting a precedent for drought-tolerant landscape design.

The interior of the Menrad residence, with a raised ceiling and glass walls. "The house felt like the ultimate expression of what postwar residential architecture in California was all about," resident Chris Menrad writes in the book. Photo  of Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed modern home

The interior of the Menrad residence, with a raised ceiling and glass walls. "The house felt like the ultimate expression of what postwar residential architecture in California was all about," resident Chris Menrad writes in the book.

The Buzyn residence features an open-plan interior. Photo  of Midcentury Lovers: You Can Thank This Architect for Transforming Palm Springs Into a Modernist Hotbed modern home

The Buzyn residence features an open-plan interior.

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