The mission of Modernism Week, an 11-day event in Palm Springs with 100,000 people expected to attend, is to celebrate and foster appreciation of midcentury architecture and design. The breakout star this year is the Aluminaire House, Albert Frey’s modernist masterpiece which is finally finding its forever home in Palm Springs.
As the first all metal pre-fabricated house in the US, it was a sensation that helped launch a new architectural movement when it was designed in 1931. The home, which was transported in a truck to Palm Springs last year after living in a shipping container in New York, was intended to be an example of the possibilities for mass-produced affordable housing using inexpensive materials.
Palm Springs is where its architect honed his desert modernism style and lived from 1934 until his death in 1998. “Frey is our patron saint; even if he’s not that well-known across America, in Palm Springs he’s beloved,” says Modernism Week’s Mark Davis. “I thought Aluminaire was a myth, or that it was long gone.” Now the orphaned house will be resurrected in a new park near the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Aluminaire was designated in 2016 by “Architectural Record” as one of 125 (#30, right after Corbusier’s 1931 Villa Savoye) most important works of architecture worldwide in the 125 years since the magazine’s founding in 1891. More information about the park, designed by Mark Rios and Nate Cormier of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, as well as the site for the reassembled steel and aluminium house slated for installation in 2020, will be shared on Friday February 23.
Modernism Week runs until Feb 25, 2018; modernismweek.com