town & country center

palm springs, california

This outdoor shopping center with a central courtyard was designed in the International Style and constructed in 1948. Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, the Town and Country Center was designed by two internationally famous architects, Paul R. Williams and A. Quincy Jones. The complex consists of four original buildings and a fifth building designed by Donald Wexler, Architect, constructed in 1955. The two street-facing elevations vary in style, materials, and appearance having varied geometry and quantity of fenestration. They share materials of painted concrete and stucco walls, storefront spaces with metal framed window walls, and consistent fenestration of fixed framed windows along both east and west elevations. The buildings are steel framed, with partial basements and concrete foundations. Flat roofs are consistent in all buildings. Along the east side of the courtyard, a wide staircase leads to a second level restaurant space, originally called the Town & Country Restaurant, now vacant. Along the northwest corner of the courtyard is a semicircular element that recalls Erich Mendelssohn’s famous and influential International Style De La Warr Pavilion of 1938, considered by some to be Britain’s first Modernist building. The 1955 building is constructed of concrete, metal and glass, has a flat roof, and responds to the original design documents produced by Jones and Williams illustrating a future building to be constructed at its location. The Town & Country Center retains all aspects of historic integrity including, location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.

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southridge house

palm springs, california

Southridge is one of the most exclusive and historic estates in Palm Springs. Development on the steep hill began in the early 1960s. Its spectacular site overlooking the Coachella Valley spurred designers like John Lautner to create the area’s most dramatic properties: the legendary Bob Hope and Arthur Elrod houses. William F. Cody and Hugh Kaptur also designed homes there and the community attracted stars like Steve McQueen and William Holden. This home, originally designed by the local team of Patten & Wild is one of the first homes to be built in Southridge. It is a simple California ranch style with a hip roof and concrete shingles. Original breeze-blocks still wrap around the lower level, where the architect has created her studio. The house has been gutted internally and the floor plan has been reworked, removing a clumsy lower-level addition that detracted from the home’s outlook, re-siting pool equipment, and returning the property to its minimal design. The house embraces the landscape, blurring the boundaries of interior and exterior, with the exterior being equally important. “The best design goes unnoticed…the eye carries beyond the house.” The home had interiors more suited to Beverly Hills than the desert, so beige marble was removed in favor of poured terrazzo. A previously secluded kitchen now opens to the tremendous views. Bathrooms feature original vintage tile and are updated with new fittings and Dornbracht hardware that matches the Crane originals. The neutral color palette throughout provides a soft backdrop for classic midcentury furniture by Eames, Saarinen and Mies van der Rohe. Outside the landscape has also been reworked and simplified with desert plantings.