Collection by Aaron Britt

Visiting Borrego Springs


Last week I was in Borrego Springs, California, a tiny town in the middle of the Anza Borrego desert in San Diego County. A good two hours northeast of San Diego, the town was, and is, a hotspot for mid-century modern design. Tucked in among the Spanish and southwestern architecture is a trove of homes, offices, and clubs that would make any fan of the fabulous 50s drool. Lesser known than storied Palm Springs, Borrego Springs offers all the beauty of the desert without the bustle of the better known vacation spot. I got a cracking tour of the place from Bill Lawrence who runs Borrego Modern and I'll be posting more photos from my trip soon. Here's the first batch to whet your appetite for groovy desert design.

With nary a traffic light in sight, Christmas Circle (a large traffic circle) welcomes visitors into the center of town.
The main shopping area is an outdoor mall that has all the sun-baked vibes of Californian mid-century design.
These benches shaded by an olive tree very ably capture the modern feel of the place with the bricks echoing the adobe...
What fan of retro design could resist a night at the Hacienda del Sol Motel downtown? You also get a good sense of how...
Here's another mod building downtown with its large glass facade and projecting roof.
The Desert Club is not in use now, but back in the 50s it was the heart of the swinging social scene in Borrego Springs.
Here's a glimpse of the faded glory of the Dick Zerbe-designed bar.
When Hollywood celebs were burned out by Palm Springs they'd often zip down to Borrego.
I could not get over the pool at the Palms.
Here are the set of stairs you see when you enter the hotel. Hard to imagine a better set of mid-century bones.
Occasionally when driving around town you see these massive sculptures in the middle-distance.
For a bit of real fauna, I couldn't help myself when I saw this real live roadrunner.
Finally, here's a look at Lawrence's Fairway cottage designed by Dick Zerbe.