Vast spaces of rich colored earth and blue skies as far as you can see! Tranquil settings of pure peacefulness that can free your soul and clear your head of any complicating thoughts. This is simplicity in nature and design, letting in the elements of the desert landscape, that is what it is all about, this is the desert modern architecture, at its finest!
A Certain Feeling:
When I go to the desert, there is a certain feeling I get inside me, a feeling of true peace and quiet and of total relaxation and freedom of spirit. My mind can think more clearly without any distractions to hinder my experience. The vast desert, with all it’s linear lines and practically minimal spaces that are designed to have architecture living cohesively with it’s natural surroundings including every line mimicking the angles of the desert landscape and colors.
In the desert there is a dry wind that blows through your hair and lets you know that you are alive. In the desert with that light breezy wind you can smell the sweet scent of the plant life that abounds the land around. Colors of Clay, stone and golden burnt umbers, sand stone beiges to off whites give you a feeling of real space, and this is what the modern architecture of the desert is all about, giving you a feeling of grand space to free your mind and soul. Designs out of the ordinairy appear out of thin air and bright skies!
“In the desert on a horse with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain, in the desert you can remember your name, cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain” Song by the musical group: America. With this song’s lyrics you can get the message loud and clear, the desert is the place you go when you want to just be. The desert is a place of harmony, and in the desert views are abundant, unusual and unequal!
The Modern Unleashed!
By the early 1960’s there was a great concentration of people who had worked hard in this country and wanted a place they could go to as their second home that would provide them much warmth and an escape from the harsh winters that come through the country every year. For the affluent, the small town of Palm Springs, CA became a place to be after the Hollywood stars had claimed it as their own Oasis away from the big city. So from the mid 1950’s through the 1960’s and then past the 1970’s right into the extravagant 1980’s, where things really started heating up in the desert (so to speak) with all the mighty desert architecture. There were fantastic architects like William Krisel, Donald Wexler, Barry Berkus and designer Steven Chase to lead the way to the modern future of the desert architecture that we now still all know and love, well those of us who love the modern and desert”.
I think that the main element that created all this wonderful desert drama was the fact that most of these structures were second homes and buyers were more willing to let the architects have fun and experiment with something different from their traditional or more conventional permanent homes they lived in the cold areas of the eastern states. It was free thinking, whimsical and fun, that was what vacation homes were suppose to be. Many of the larger commercial building in town followed suite with the desert minimalist feel and look as well as the desert colors.
Soaring ceilings and large windows letting in all the light, with fantastic geometric angles including the “Accordion” roof lines of Donald Wexler “Butter Fly” roof designs of William Krisel, this all seem to make the long journey to the desert worth it all, just for the fun!