chino canyon project

Ready for Their Close-up

Chino Canyon Project in Palm Springs brings modern architecture, design, and sustainability to light during Modernism Week.

Erin Peters Modernism, Real Estate

chino canyon project
The "O2 House" makes its public debut during Modernism Week, and will host lectures by its architect, Lance O'Donnell.

“My ethos is – having grown up here in the desert – is about finding the essence of that location, essence of place, we call it. And then from there, allowing the architecture to celebrate the rhythms and patterns.”
— Palm Springs architect Lance O’Donnell

O’Donnell will speak about his ethos Feb. 26 in relation to his latest project, “O2 House,” which will make its public debut during Modernism Week starting Feb. 16. Located at the Desert Palisades Project in Chino Canyon, O’Donnell’s creation embodies how modern, sustainable homes located in challenging hillside conditions can create lasting mirco-ecologues, habitats, and sustainable water and energy balances.

The public will be able to tour both the “O2 House” and “The Beadle House” at the Chino Canyon site that contrast a design by a contemporary visionary (O’Donnell) with a never-constructed plan by a late midcentury architect (Al Beadle).

“The Beadle House” is based on a mid-1970s plan by the late architect Al Beadle for a house in Arizona.

Ticket holders will tour the home Feb. 19 starting at 4:30 p.m. followed by a special lecture presentation by O’Donnell, “Design with Nature – Indoor/Outdoor Desert Living: Lower Water, Captured Water, and Grey Water Solutions to Maximize Harmony with Desert Landscapes.”

A native of Palm Springs, O’Donnell has experienced roughly 50 years of patterns. He thinks about what the upcoming season will bring and what makes it special.

“The patterns have to do with very sight specific things,” he said. “We know that, at that location, it’s on the Pacific Flyway. So, coming up in a couple months, we’ll start to see migrating birds, huge flocks of migrating birds flying overhead…that’s another rhythm and pattern. Then there’s a daily rhythm that happens with coyotes and the bighorn sheep that come down the mountainside. The home, because of its orientation, allows one to experience those things.”

The “O2 House” sits atop a garage that is virtually invisible from certain vantage points.

“Because of the house’s south facing orientation, the sun warms the interior in the winter in a way that’s expected and celebrated.” he continues. “In the summertime, it blocks the intense sun and glare, so that the outdoors can still be experienced, but with a different sensibility. It’s all part of the indoor/outdoor experience and the connection to the landscape.

“We’re always trying to bring people together,” he adds. “And I think it’s reinforced by kind of a great room living. The Celestial Court home has a large great room space where the kitchen, dining and living are all intertwined in one space…By doing that, we try to continually support this idea of connection and family connection, and friendship connection.”

O’Donnell will also lecture Feb. 26 on “From Phoenix to Palm Springs, Unbuilt Al Beadle: Adapting a Master Architect’s 1960s Design Vision for 2017.” His talk will provide context into the evaluation of the elevated living prototype within the single-family home, its importance and place in Beadle’s architecture, and the personal and practical difficulty of realizing the project 50 years later, 270 miles west in California, 1,000 feet lower, and 6 miles from the San Andreas Fault.

A U-shaped stairway connects the ground floor entrance to the main floor.

And good architecture – like good wine have a connection and long history together.

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, also known as the World Wine Guys, are wine, spirits, food, and travel writers, educators, and hosts. They will take guests on a culinary, wine tasting, and architectural experience Feb. 16-17. Both dates are sold out.

“Modernism Week in Palm Springs has always been on our radar,” DeSimone and Jenssen said in an email. “We’ve wanted to visit for years as we’re big fans of midcentury architecture, furniture, and design. We’re totally excited to bring our easy-going, fun, and entertaining food and wine pairing events to the week. We’re also super excited to work with Miele, our fantastic partner to show our guests just how easy home entertaining can be when you have the right home appliances, equipment, and of course…wine!” 

Lance O’ Donnell House, Palm Springs

Architect: Lance O’ Donnell
Year Built: 2017

During Modernism Week, you’ll find more than a dozen world-renowned artists at the O’Donnell home including John Baldessari, Vik Muniz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Vanessa Beecroft.

Al Beadle House, Palm Springs

Developer & Builder: Mike Yakovich, Better Built, Inc.
Project Architect: Lance O’Donnell
Consultants: Ned Sawyer, Nancy Beadle

With collaboration from Sawyer, this Beadle-designed home utilizes a two-story concept where the lower floor has a minimized footprint to preserve the site’s natural hillside setting and a second level hovers defying gravity above. Nancy Beadle requested that Sawyer consult on the build. Sawyer worked closely with Beadle when he was based in Arizona and went on to develop a signature modernist ethic of his own. 

Sawyer will give an overview of Beadle’s work with “A Shared Perspective” Feb. 24. He will introduce Al, the person, the father, the architect, and the artist. Beadle designed 43 sculptures, including two that have been reworked by a local artist and will be part of the final house. Sawyer has always admired Beadle’s work, even before he knew Al, the person.

“It appeared to be logical,” Sawyer said. “It appeared to be clean. It appeared to have an inside outside relationship. So it had a relationship with sight and one thing that Al mentioned through the design process, is he liked being inside a house, a project and seeing the architecture outside.”

Chino Canyon Project tours, Feb. 16-26,