Preservation Month Tours


After the symposium, event attendees have the option to attend one of eleven tours. All tours start at 5:10PM on April 14th and attendees are responsible for transportation to and from each tour location. Space is limited to 25 to 30 attendees per tour, so ticket reservations are required.  Please be advised that bathroom facilities are not available on tours; shoe covers/booties may be required; and photos may not be taken on some tours.

TOUR 1: Rebirth of an Icon – Plaza Theater

Plaza Theater

Join council member, J.R. Roberts inside the historically designated Class One Plaza Theater as he shares the restoration plans. The theater opened December 12, 1936 with the World Premiere of Greta Garbo in”Camille”. Through the years it has played host to Bob Hope’s and Jack Benny’s radio show. Other performers, including Frank Sinatra, have given live performances here.

Since 1991, it has been home to “The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies”, a vaudeville-style showcase of music and dance from the 1930’s to 1960’s, featuring famous guest stars. Regular talent, including locals, are billed as "Our legendary line of long-legged lovelies…all 54-84 years young!" It was closed in May 2014.

TOUR 2: Mid-century Modern Polynesian by Charles DuBois

Midecentury Polynesian

Sunrise Lanai is a mid-century modern 1952 complex by builder, Joseph Dunas, a partner in the Alexander Construction Co. The design was by Charles Du Bois, AIA who also created the 15 Swiss Miss houses in Vista Las Palmas, a similar style which is a blend of tropical Polynesian Tiki style with A frame roofs reminiscent of Swiss chalets. Similar characteristics as those in Vista Las Palmas include stone walls beside the interior courtyard and entrance ways, large shingle two story A frame gables with eaves descending almost to the ground, partially open living areas with adjacent flat roofs, post and beam construction and large windows. Meet the homeowners who have respected the integrity of this very special property and have graciously opened their home for our small group.

SPONSORED BY: Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS Mod Com)

TOUR 3:  DuB71 at Canyon Estates


DuB71 is a private, stand alone 2,600-square foot home with soaring clerestory windows and appointed with the homeowner’s curated collection of art and furniture. Modernist will delight in the interesting blend of Italian, Brazilian and classical mid century art, lighting and furnishings.

In the late 1960’s on raw desert, Canyon Estates was developed using the design of architect Charles Du Bois.  Canyon Estates is comprised of 254-units on more than 40-acres with a 9-hole par-3 golf course, club house, 15-pools, tennis courts and workout facility.

SPONSORED BY:  Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS Mod Com)

TOUR 4: Rat Pack Era in Vista Las Palmas

Alexanders in Las Palmas - Rat Pack Era

In this trendy mid-century neighborhood of Vista Las Palmas, the homes are affectionately nicknamed “The Alexanders” in recognition of the developers George and Robert Alexander. They used Daniel Palmer and William Krisel as their primary architects to create these tract homes which appear, amazingly, to be custom-designed. The developers also used architect Charles DuBois to design a group of whimsical “Swiss Miss” houses which delight architecture enthusiasts even today.

The Hollywood elite embraced these Alexanders. The fun-loving Rat Pack made this neighborhood their personal playground when they were regarded as the coolest guys on the planet. Peter Lawford’s home became their party central. Many other celebrities lived and frolicked here. Today the carefree Rat Pack vibe continues to permeate this quintessential Modernist neighborhood.

SPONSORED BY: Palm Springs Historical Society

TOUR 5: Capra Residence by Dan Spencer, AIA

Capra Residence

As a nod to the Bauhaus/international style, the modest 1,600-square foot seasonal "easy living" residence, was designed for a Wisconsin couple to be highly energy efficient and easy to maintain. Located on a narrow, previously un-built, neighborhood infill lot in Palm Springs, it is integrated into the specific context, resulting in a home that delights the owners, and its many visitors. Sun angles, key mountain views, layering of privacy zones, and indoor/outdoor living were reinforced with orientation, building form and design elements. Sustainable and forward thinking in energy and efficiency, (in-floor heat, solar, shading), while using a limited palette of concrete, stucco, metals and glass, the Urban Cabin is envisioned to continue the exploration of the simple modern home in the desert. (Photo credit: David Chavkin)

TOUR 6: Axiom Desert House by Turkel Design

Axiom desert house with mountain backdrop - Photo by Chase Daniel

The newly completed Axiom Desert House recently made its debut as a Featured Home at this year’s Modernism Week—turning heads as a stunning, midcentury-inspired, systems-built jewel that will be the private residence of designers Joel and Meelena Turkel, as well as a Living Lab for Turkel Design. The home’s open plan, indoor/outdoor flow, and innovative use of sustainable materials are a testament to modern prefab, celebrating transformative desert design that is simple, elegant, and replicable.

After a special introduction from Meelena Turkel, you’ll tour the modern oasis that provided them an opportunity to turn the lens upon themselves as clients and designers—creating a livable, net-zero energy, fossil fuel-free design that fuses process with collaboration into one creative ecosystem. (Photo credit: Chase Daniel)

TOUR 7: Behind the Walls of the Desert Star

Desert Star

The Palm Spring Art Museum, Architecture and Design Council (ADC) will offer a tour of The Desert Star including one of the restored studio apartments.

The Desert Star, designed by Howard Lapham (1914-2008), was completed in 1956. It is an important example of a desert modernist resort hotel and Lapham’s pure modernist design featuring a "colliding flat and shed roof.” In 2016 the Palm Springs City Council approved its Class 1 Historic Site designation based on the nomination prepared by PSPF Board members Barbara and Ron Marshall. This historic building type, the small hotel (25 units or less), slowly gained prominence in Palm Springs between 1920 and 1965. The Desert Star started its transition into individual unit ownership in 1977.

TOUR 8: The Hundred Mile House in Chino Canyon by Duane Smith, Principal Designer

Hundred Mile House

This project is a renovation and addition to a custom-built home built in 1954 at the base of San Jacinto Mountain. The original layout, post-and-beam construction, wall of custom wooden windows and unique architectural detailing are reminiscent of Cliff May’s iconic Rancho homes, yet the original architect is unknown.

The primary goal was to maintain the unique character of the original structure while upgrading the home to be more energy efficient, spacious and functional. Square footage was more than doubled, but the street presence was kept minimal. A new pool and patio off the main living area as well as private outdoor spaces off each bedroom create a uniquely Californian experience.

The original siting of the house fully considered the desert sun, keeping the main living area and window wall in shade for most of the day with deep eaves and a Northwest exposure. The addition extrapolates on the thoughtful siting and fully considers the home’s desert location.

TOUR 9: Experience the Interiors & Gardens of Villa Vecchia

Villa Vecchia

A 1931 Art Deco Mediterranean masterpiece built by Marjorie Main with a spectacular pool, colorful drought tolerant gardens and fascinating turtle and Koi ponds.  The property is owned by landscape architects and interior designers, Gino Dreese and Troy Williams.  Gino is from Amsterdam where he studied garden architecture at the De Riiks Hogere Tuinbouwschool in the Netherlands and Troy is from South Florida and a graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in environmental design. Their gardens are sensitive to the environment in respect to sustainability. The two are owners of Mojave Rock Ranch.

TOUR 10: Palisades Guardhouse by Sean Lockyer, AIA

View of Palisades guardhouse with mountains behind

Join Sean as he passionately shares his vision and the complexities of this masterful piece of architecture-yet another example of blending man and the environment.

The guard house was originally conceptualized as a gateway to the Palisades residential development, located on the elevated hillside overlooking Palm Springs. The aesthetic was designed to reflect both the nature and thrusting of the hillside slope. It was paramount that the materials of the outer shell and structure be left to patina naturally, unadorned with any added finish. The interior materials, in contrast, were intended to communicate a dichotomy between the built and natural elements.  The vision was to create throughout this project the same conversation, connection, and tension between the built and natural environments.

TOUR 11: (To be announced)

(Description and photograph to be provided soon)

To reserve your tour ticket, please return to the previous web page.