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Donald Wexler, Palm Springs Modernist

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Palm Springs architect Donald Wexler

Palm Springs architect Donald Wexler

Photo © Jackie Craven
Architect Donald Wexler helped define Palm Springs, California as a center for mid-century modernism. He also set a new tone for prefab construction when he designed sophisticated steel houses for the Alexander Construction Company.

Born:

January 23, 1926 in South Dakota. Childhood spent in Minnesota.

Education:

University of Minnesota, 1950

Selected Projects:

  • 1955: Wexler House, Palm Springs, California
  • 1958: Spa Hotel Bath House, Palm Springs, California
  • 1960s: Royal Hawaiian Estates, Palm Springs, California
  • 1961: Alexander Steel Houses, Palm Springs, California
  • 1962: Union 76 Gas Station, Palm Springs, California
  • 1963: Palm Springs Medical Clinic, Palm Springs, California
  • 1964: Dinah Shore Residence, Palm Springs, California
  • 1965: Palm Springs International Airport
  • 1971: Merrill Lynch Building, Palm Canyon, California
  • 1985: Hope Square Professional Centre, Palm Springs, California

Related People:

Donald Wexler worked for Richard Neutra in Los Angeles and for William Cody in Palm Springs. Between 1952 and 1961, Donald Wexler partnered with architect Richard Harrison. Donald A. Wexler Associates was launched in 1963.

Other prominent architects of the period included:

  • Albert Frey
  • John Lautner
  • E. Stewart Williams

Styles and Ideas:

More About Donald Wexler:

Donald Wexler arrived in California when mid-century modernism was flourishing. Wexler helped transform Palm Springs with a wide range of modernist designs, but he became best known for his steel houses.

Working with Richard Harrison, Donald Wexler had designed many school buildings using new approaches to steel construction. Wexler believed that the same methods could be used to build stylish and affordable homes. The Alexander Construction company contracted Wexler to design prefab steel houses for a tract neighborhood in Palm Springs, California. After seven houses were built, rising prices made the project impractical. However, Wexler's steel houses set a new tone for prefabricated home construction and inspired similar projects across the country.

References

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