Frey House II: Simple. Durable. Zen. Iconic.

Albert Frey turns a multi-ton boulder into its centerpiece



At sunrise, nothing shows off Frey House II better thanks to its inviting windows.

Christopher Swan

 

Frey House II is the Steve McQueen of mid-century houses.

Like the actor, the house is the essence of cool, without trying to be cool.

It knows what it is, and it does it better than anyone else can. Handsome. Simple. Durable. Zen. Iconic.

Both photographed well, but filled the frame even better for motion pictures.

Frey House II is the second of two personal homes designed and constructed in Palm Springs by legendary architect Albert Frey. He studied the precise positioning of the hillside and its relative solar patterns – both summer and winter – long before he started building in 1963 on a piece of land many doubted could be tamed.

When the dust settled, he had achieved the impossible by turning what seemed to be his biggest obstacle into what he knew all along would be his biggest asset – a multi-ton boulder in the middle of the property, which now serves as a touchstone of the house.

“Frey House II is located at the top of a private road that’s very steep, so you can imagine the challenges when the house was under construction. Bringing steel, and concrete block, and all the materials up there. And also just the lot itself. Nobody, I think, would ever imagine that it was desirable because it was so steep, and such a difficult site. But Albert took that challenge on," says Sidney Williams, curator of Architecture and Design at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

It was that spirit of quiet confidence imbued with vision, poise, and genius that filled the project before, during, and after its construction. Because of those qualities, the house is an indelible reminder of the sheer beauty that can be willed into existence in face of adversity. And like its silver screen counterpart, Frey House II is, and always shall be, the essence of cool.

Tours
Frey House II can be visited by the general public through tours available only during Modernism Week, Feb. 13-23, by visiting www.modernismweek.com

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

 

VIDEO: Gain a sunrise tour of Frey House II.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

On the Edge of Tomorrow

Perched high over the valley adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, this Mirada Estates home epitomizes open-space luxury living.

The Third Man

In 1946, Robson Chambers joined the Palm Springs team of John Porter Clark and Albert Frey. For them, the untamed desert was a limitless canvas of opportunity.

The Real Deal

Beyond a personal style that begins with intriguing tattoos and fiery red hair, the magic professional clothing designer Corey Lynn Calter worked on her vintage Alexander home easily rivals her successful clothing lines.

Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors Forges Partnership With Palm Springs Life

The Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors announces the formation of an exclusive partnership with Palm Springs Life Magazine.

How to Remodel a Greater Palm Springs Architectural Gem

Mark Davis of Modern Home Design Showroom in Palm Springs knows firsthand what it’s like to remodel an iconic piece of architectural history after owning the Kenaston Home in Rancho Mirage.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couples getaway
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Edit ModuleShow Tags