Last month, hubby and I went on a 5-day trip to explore the Greater Palm Springs area without the kiddos. Both of us love to take in art and architecture wherever we visit, and since Palm Springs is to well-known for its iconic Mid-Century Modern buildings and aesthetic, we had to see some of the landmarks for ourselves.
We spent the majority of one day doing our own self-guided driving tour to see a number of the Mid-Century Modern homes and businesses in Palm Springs.
Here are some highlights from our tour!
* Note: some of these properties are people’s homes. Please respect their property. Do not trespass.*
Tramway Gas Station / Palm Springs Visitors Center
Originally designed by Albert Frey in 1963 as the Tramway Gas Station, this building now serves as the Palm Springs Visitors Center. It sits at the base of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and is a prime example of modernist architecture.
Location: 2901 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
William and Marjorie Edris commissioned E. Stewart Williams to design their home in the Little Tuscany Estates in Palm Springs. The home was built in 1954 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The home’s exterior features rocky landscaping and a stone wall.
Location: 1030 West Cielo Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Kaufman Desert House
Designed by Richard Neutra in 1946, the Kaufman House served as the desert retreat of Edgar J. Kaufman, Sr., a Pennsylvania department store owner. Kaufman also commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater.
Like Fallingwater, the Kaufman House is one of the most important 20th century American modernist pieces of architecture.
Location: 470 West Vista Chino, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway
Elvis and Priscilla Presley spent their honeymoon here in 1967 after their Las Vegas weddings and also spent time at this home between 1966 and 1967. The iconic house is also known as the Alexander House and the “House of Tomorrow.” The Mid-Century Modern home was built in 1960 by Palm Springs developer Robert Alexander.
Although we only saw the exterior of the home, Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway is open for public tours and special events. The interior features four perfect circles on three separate levels of the home and indoor-outdoor living spaces.
Location: 1350 Ladera Circle, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Swiss Miss Houses
The Vista Las Palmas neighborhood in Palm Springs is known for Charles Dubois’ Swiss Miss Houses. These homes are the perfect combination of chalet-style plus Tiki flare. They were my favorite homes from our self-guided tour of Palm Springs modernist architecture. I just love the A-fram roof lines.
Location: Vista Las Palmas neighborhood
Coachella Valley Savings and Loan No. 2
In addition to homes like the Edris House, E. Stewart Williams was also responsible for commercial buildings such as the Coachella Valley Savings No. 2, which at other times has also served as a Washington Mutual and is currently a Chase Bank. With its flat roof line and inverted arches, this building is an eye-catcher.
Location: Chase Bank, 499 South Palm Canyon Drive , Palm Springs, CA 92262
Bank of America (City National Bank)
Built in 1959, the former City National Bank building was inspired by Le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamp, France. The buildings rounded-corners and blue tiled facade are a must-see on any mid-century modern tour.
Location: Bank of America, 588 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
That does it for our DIY Palm Springs Architecture Tour. While we only got to see a handful of buildings on this trip, I hope we can add some more notable buildings to my list on our next visit.
Do you have any favorite homes or buildings for us to check out next time?