Palm Springs is remarkable for its modernist architecture. Designers such as Richard Neutra and John Lautner helped found a whole new style of American architecture that enhanced and complimented the desert environment. (Assuming we overlook the water-sapping swimming pools and golf courses!) The Palm Springs information centre stocks a handy map of the city’s most significant buildings. Most are not on public display so you will be grabbing glimpses through fences and over hedges, but this is still pretty entertaining. In winter, take a bike, in summer, you’ll certainly need a car. Alternatively download the Palm Springs Modern: Mid-Century Architecture Tours app – it’s a little heavy but the mix of text and narrative will help put what you’re seeing into context.
If you want a more in-depth experience you can book a tour with The Modern Tour – recommended to those who can tax deduct their trip for professional reasons! Some buildings may be open during Modernism Week – see their website for details.
Palm Spring’s must-see buildng is Kaufmann House, designed by Richard Neutra in 1946. The house was built for Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., a Pittsburgh business man who is responsible for not one but two iconic American houses – he also commissioned ‘Fallingwater’ by Frank Lloyd Wright.