Organization:Modernism Week

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Modernism Week
Palm Springs Visitor Center Sideview-(revised)2.jpg
Albert Frey's Tramway Gas Station, 1965, now Palm Springs Visitor's Center

Modernism Week is a 501(c)(3) organization which provides public education programming fostering knowledge and appreciation of modern architecture, the mid-century modern architecture and design movement, the Palm Springs School of Architecture, as well as contemporary considerations surrounding historic preservation, cultural heritage, adaptive reuse, and sustainable architecture.[1] Modernism Week provides annual scholarships to local students pursuing college educations in the fields of architecture and design and supports local and state organizations' efforts to preserve and promote the region's modern architecture.[2] The organization is centered in the greater Palm Springs, California area in the Coachella Valley which is home to a significant collection of extant residential and commercial buildings designed in the mid-century modern vernacular.[3]

Modernism Week architectural bus tour in Palm Springs


The primary event for the organization is an annual, eleven-day, region-wide advocacy and educational festival called “Modernism Week” which is held each February. Events are produced by Modernism Week and partner organizations and include symposia, films, lectures, tours, and a variety of opportunities to access architecturally significant buildings not otherwise available to the public.[4] Educational programs explore the mid-century modern era as it applies to architecture, design, landscape, preservation, and culture. In addition to the primary event held each February, Modernism Week offers a “Fall Preview” four-day event each October. This “mini-Modernism Week” was developed to provide educational opportunities to seasonal visitors.[5]

Mid-century modern house in Palm Springs


Modernism Week began in 2006 as an adjunct to two existing programs exploring mid-century architecture and design: the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale and the annual Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture & Design Council Symposium.[6] The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Palm Springs, California to its 2006 list of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, an annual list highlighting cultural tourism destinations for architecture.[7] In 2009, Palm Springs was included on the List of Preserve America Communities and was welcomed to the program in a letter by then-First Lady Michelle Obama.[8] In 2009, Modernism Week became a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.[9] In 2015, a physical headquarters for the event was launched enabling visitors to gather at a central location throughout the festival. Dubbed, CAMP (Community And Meeting Place), this tented hub is erected each year in downtown Palm Springs to provide services throughout the festival including serving as a depot for bus tours, educational programming, ticket sales, and the distribution of general information.[10]


From 2012 to 2018, annual attendance increased from 12,000 to 125,000. The number of programmed events in 2018 was 350 with attendees representing the 50 United States and 19 countries.[11][12] In 2019, attendance increased 20% over 2018 to an estimated 152,000 participating in over 370 events resulting in an estimated economic impact for the Coachella Valley of $57 million. International visitors from 25 countries participated alongside attendees from all 50 United States. California residents accounted for the majority of attendees (54 percent) representing 445 of 482 cities in California. [13][14][15]

Notable speakers

Notable Palm Springs-region architects, designers, and developers of the era

  • Richard Neutra
  • John Lautner
  • Donald Wexler
  • Albert Frey
  • William Krisel
  • Paul Trousdale
  • William Francis Cody
  • John Porter Clark
  • Raymond Loewy
  • Alexander Construction Company
  • E. Stewart Williams
  • Lloyd Wright
  • A. Quincy Jones
  • William Haines
  • Arthur Elrod
  • Rudolph Schindler
  • Paul Revere Williams
  • Hugh M. Kaptur
  • Erle Webster and Adrian Wilson[24][25]
  • William Pereira
  • Victor Gruen
  • Craig Ellwood


External links


  1. "Modernism Week Attendance Increases by 30% in Thirteenth Year". Desert Charities News. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2018. 
  2. "Modernism Week Helps Local Community Organizations Raise Funds". Desert Charities News. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2018. 
  3. Brown, Patricia Leigh (25 February 2015). "In Mecca of Modernism, a New Pack of Devotees". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  4. Boone, Lisa (16 January 2018). "What you Don't Want to Miss at Modernism Week 2018". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 April 2018. 
  5. "Modernism Week Fall Preview adds Fourth Day". Palm Springs Life. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2018. 
  6. Kremer, Lydia (20 December 2015). "Modernism Week's Beginnings Forged by Creative Thinkers". Palm Springs Life. Retrieved 16 April 2018. 
  7. "National Trust Promotes Heritage Tourism with Annual List of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations". PR Newswire. itravel Magazine. 1 March 2006. Retrieved 16 April 2018. 
  8. "Preserve America Communities". Preserve America. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  9. Smith, Andrea (3 February 2017). "Check Out Incredible 1950s and '60s Architecture in Palm Springs During Modernism Week". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  10. Kremer, Lydia (23 January 2015). "Modernism Week Makes CAMP with New Event Headquarters". Palm Springs Life. Retrieved 12 March 2019. 
  11. Barkas, Sherry (8 March 2018). "Modernism Week Attendance Climbs 30%; Brings Estimated $47.25 in Revenue". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  12. Reyes, Jesus (9 March 2018). "Modernism Week 2018 sees Rising Attendance, revenue for the Coachella Valley". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 16 April 2018. 
  13. "Modernism Week 2019 Attracts 150,000+". Palm Springs Life. 8 March 2019. Retrieved 11 March 2019. 
  14. "Modernism Week Added Almost $60 million to the Desert Economy This Year". 8 March 2019. Retrieved 11 March 2019. 
  15. "Modernism Week Added Nearly $60 Million to the Local Economy this Year". KESQ News. 8 March 2019. Retrieved 11 March 2019. 
  16. "Todd Time". Palm Springs Life. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2018. 
  17. "Man of Color". Palm Springs Life. 19 December 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2020. 
  18. "Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise". Los Angeles Times. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018. 
  19. "Moshe Safdie says ideas behind Habitat '67 have come full circle". Desert Sun. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019. 
  20. "Moshe Safdie to give keynote lecture at 2019 Modernism Week". The Architect's Newspaper. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019. 
  21. "How Palm Springs Modernism Week Became an Architecture and Design Juggernaut". Metropolis Magazine. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2019. 
  22. "Daniel Libeskind is at the 'Edge of Order'". KCRW. 18 February 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2020. 
  23. "Palm Springs Modernism Week Announces 2020 Festival Schedule". The Blunt Post. 2 January 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2019. 
  24. "California Art & Architecture: Ship of the Desert Palm Springs". Retrieved 16 April 2018. 
  25. Baker, Christopher (2008). Explorer's Guide: Palm Springs & Desert Resorts: A Great Destination. New York, NY: The Countryman Press. p. 91. ISBN 1-58157-048-1.