finn kappe

House and Home

Hear from architect Finn Kappe about his late father Ray's first and only design in Palm Springs, and take an in-person tour over Memorial Day weekend.

JIM POWERS Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

finn kappe

The Ray Kappe (above) and Sean Lockyer houses will both be open for ticketed tours during Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29.

The Kappe house may have just been completed earlier this year, but the way it sits among the boulders and rugged landscape of Desert Palisades in Palm Springs gives the impression it has been there much longer.

“I love the way it responds to the site, and the way it steps with the site,” says Finn Kappe, who oversaw the construction of his late father Ray’s design — his first and only in Palm Springs. “The topography of the land is actually a constraint, and an invitation to do the architecture in conjunction with it. It looks like it (the house) belongs here, and maybe even as if it's been here a long time, much longer than it has.”

Finn Kappe will be part of a Memorial Day weekend of activities surrounding Ray’s architectural achievements. Finn Kappe will be joined by Hernan Diaz Alonso, director of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) in Los Angeles, on May 27 for a Champagne reception and discussion. Ray Kappe was the founding director of SCI-ARC.


Following the discussion, ticketholders will also take an in-person tour of the Kappe home and the Sean Lockyer home that also was recently completed. A link to a video virtual tour of both homes will also be included in the ticket price. For tickets, click HERE.

In-person home tours of both the Kappe and Lockyer homes will continue May 28-29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. A link to a video virtual tour of both homes will also be included in the ticket price. For tickets, click HERE.

Finn Kappe, who joined his father at Kappe Architectural Planners in 1986, has managed over $25 million dollars of residential and commercial construction during his career. He recently spoke about his father and the Kappe house in Palm Springs during the making of the video.

Does your family have a connection to Palm Springs?

Our familiarity with this area comes from a little bit of family history, my dad's mother, Betty, had a house down here from 1960 to 1980. We used to come down and visit her. Ray actually worked for one weekend down here when he was a young architect, as kind of a little bit of a weekend intern with one of the local architects. We're really pleased to finally have Ray contribute a home to the legacy that is down here.

You said even though your father’s architecture had some very strong vertical elements, the horizontal line dominates. Why is that?

I think the reason for that is the idea of floating above the land or architecture kind of playing with gravity a bit in terms of its line and presentation was important to him; it's something he enjoyed. That was his palette. I would say this house is one where the initial DNA, and fingerprint, and roadmap is Ray. Other jobs, we might collaborate a little more, but a lot of times, if he's the lead architect on a residence, it's of the scale that he doesn't need help there. You just kind of get him sitting down there, and then you get this great design to go forward with.

How does the Kappe house in Palm Springs fit into his legacy of architecture?

I think it's clear to many that it fits in really well relative to his late ’50s and early ’60s architecture that was largely one-story housing. However, the fact that it can be a new house today here makes it a brand new thing completely, largely because of how it relates to the site, and how successful it is in terms of its feel, and appearing as if it's been here all along. Now, that's a fit with his legacy, it's a continuation of his legacy of architecture, in my opinion. It's not the first project he did, it's not ultimately the very last he did. But that continuity, his consistency is remarkable over the years, in terms of that aspect, those things in architecture. All those beautiful optimistic things that were at play still exist in this architecture, obviously.