The Aluminaire House is a three-story, 1,200 square-foot building once erected.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM
While strolling through downtown Palm Springs, you might catch a glimpse of a modernist masterpiece being constructed. Make that reconstructed.
Palm Springs Art Museum’s south parking lot at the corner of West Tahquitz Canyon Way and Museum Way is being transformed into the permanent home of the Aluminaire House, a historically significant all-metal prototype residence designed by Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher.
“There will be nothing like it anywhere,” says local Aluminaire House Foundation committee member Mark Davis. “It will be the only historic house here that will be open 24/7 for the public to view.”
The three-story, 1,200-square-foot building, which boldly married a sleek aesthetic with affordable materials, is considered a hallmark of modernist design, listed by Architectural Record as one of the most important buildings of the past 125 years.
After it debuted at a 1931 design exhibition in New York, the prefab house endured a tumultuous history. It was eventually disassembled and placed into storage. For more than 25 years, New York architects Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani worked to protect, document, and find a suitable resting place for the seminal structure.
Once erected, the house will be lit inside and out, making Aluminaire a beacon of modern design history in Palm Springs.