modernism week mighty builders

Designing Palm Springs

The Palm Springs Architecture Alliance will bring together more than 25 speakers to address the future of Palm Springs architectural landscape and related issues during Modernism Week Fall Preview's virtual event.

Staff Report Current Digital, Home & Design, Modernism

modernism week mighty builders
One of the speakers at October's The Palm Springs Architecture Alliance conference will be Sam Ruben, chief sustainability officer and co-founder of Mighty Buildings, on “3D printed Housing for Today.”

The Palm Springs Architecture Alliance, a consortium of nationally-known educators, authors, designers, artists, preservationists, architecture professionals and aficionados, has announced the list of speakers and conference topics for “Fast Forward: Designing the Future of Palm Springs,” a virtual conference that will take place during Modernism Week Fall Preview, Oct. 15-18.

More than 25 notable speakers will participate in discussions impacting the future of Palm Springs’ architectural landscape. “Our purpose for presenting this groundbreaking conference is to provide a forum for Palm Springs’ residents and all interested parties to hear thoughtful discussion from a wide array of perspectives and to become fully engaged in shaping the future of our world-renowned architectural mecca,” says Dick Burkett, co-founder Palm Springs Architectural Alliance and chair of the Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board.

The conference will consist of approximately six hours of relevant discussion in three main sections. Each section will be about two hours of content.

Tickets can be purchased on the Modernism Week website: as of Oct 15. The ticket price of $25 includes a link to all three sections; once purchased you can access the conference at your leisure and convenience anytime from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15.

The conference program is as follows:

Session 1 – The Palm Springs we know

“The Palm Springs School.” Alan Hess.
Making the case for desert modernism to be named the Palm Springs School

“Palm Springs: The International Brand.” Peter Moruzzi and Chris Menrad. How did Palm Springs earn the reputation as the Modernism Capitol of the World?


“Preservation Matters: The Economics of Preservation.” Chris Mobley.  Modernism Week generates significant economic impact to the city, the neighborhood organizations, and preservation groups.

“Planner and Preservationist: a Dialogue.” Moderated by Sidney Williams with Palm Springs City Council member Dennis Woods and preservationist Tracy Conrad. Are these two groups destined to oppose one another or can they find common ground?

Session 2 –The Palm Springs we need

“The Politics of Architecture.” Alberto Cavallero will discuss the history and social issues as they relate to architecture and the institutionalization of discrimination or equality.

“Adaptive Re-use: 3 Case Studies” Gary Johns, moderator. Panelist and their topic: Jim Cioffi – Robinson’s Department store; Susan Secoy Jensen – Kaptur Plaza, and Louis Grachos – Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center.

“High Design for Low Income Housing.” Angela Brooks and Larry Scarpa, principals of Brooks + Scarpa. The architects will discuss how they approach low-cost housing projects with an eye to the innovative use of common materials to achieve the high design.

“3D printed Housing for Today.” Sam Ruben, chief sustainability officer and co-founder of Mighty Buildings. These 3D printed houses are among the first to win state approval for use throughout California.

“Architects and Developers in conversation.” Moderated by Sidney Williams with architects Lance O ‘Donnell and Marina Acosta, and developers Michael Braun of GRIT and Chris Pardo of Arrive Hotels.
How do these professions work with cities to build the future?

Session 3 – The Palm Springs that could be

“A Master Plan for Irvine.” Alan Hess will present ideas about the “top down master plan” that makes Irvine, California so successful.

“Design Guidelines for Redlands and Anaheim.” Mary Ringhoff and Evanne St. Charles will present examples of “bottom up design guidelines” that help cities navigate and manage development successfully.

“Developing Design Guidelines.” Susan Secoy Jensen with panelists Maria Song, Bill LaVoie, Brad Shuckhart and Robert Rotman will discuss the development of design guidelines and a checklist to ensure that future development meets the most important criteria while encouraging innovative and excellent architectural design.

“Albert Frey’s Aluminaire House in Palm Springs.” Louis Grachos will share exciting news about the Aluminaire House and its future home at the Palm Springs Art Museum.