The Aluminaire House Foundation will host a fundraising tour and reception to benefit the Aluminaire House during Modernism Week 2018. The tour and reception will be held at the Raymond Loewy estate in Palm Springs on February 23 at 3 PM. It will raise awareness of the 1931 Aluminaire House, a historically significant prefabricated aluminum and metal prototype residence designed by Albert Frey, that will soon be permanently situated in a portion of the new Palm Springs Downtown Park. Tickets are $150 – $250 and may be purchased at modernismweek.com.
Prior to the fundraiser, a free community update about the Aluminaire House and the new park will be presented at the Annenberg Theater in the Palm Springs Art Museum, on February 23 from 12:30 – 2 PM. At this community update, Mark Rios and Nate Cormier of Rios Clementi Hale Studios will share the firm’s design legacy and creative process and present the final concept for the new park, including the section where the Aluminaire will be located. Following this presentation will be a moderated conversation featuring architects Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani who have worked diligently for more than 25 years to save, protect and document Aluminiare. They will discuss why Palm Springs and the park is the perfect place for this historic and world-renowned structure. Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance.
Additionally, The Aluminaire House Foundation plans to construct a full size graphic display of Aluminaire on the lot where it will be sited. Specially underwritten by an anonymous donor, this display will provide the community with a better idea of the size and scale of Aluminaire when it is ultimately constructed on the site, expected to be completed in 2020.
A special informational panel and scale model of the building will be located in CAMP, Modernism Week’s “Community And Meeting Place” that will serve as Modernism Week’s central hub throughout the 11-day event that runs February 15-25, 2018. CAMP will be located at 230 Museum Way (directly across from the Palm Springs Art Museum in the new public park).
The Aluminaire House will also be prominently featured in a new film about Albert Frey that will have its World Premier during Modernism week. Called “Albert Frey: Part 1 – The Architectural Envoy,” the World Premiere screening and reception will be on February 18 at from 5 -9 pm at the Camelot Theatres, located at 2300 E. Baristo Road. Tickets are $25 for film only and $125 for VIP Seating in the film and entry into a post-screening cocktail party. The first of a two-part film series produced by Design Onscreen, this film explores Albert’s early life and work in Europe to his New York architectural accomplishments in the 1930s, including the famed Aluminaire House, the Canvas Weekend House, features of the New York Museum of Modern Art, as well as his Kocher-Samson Building in Palm Springs.
“We are excited that we are now so much closer to achieving our dream of permanently displaying the Aluminaire House in Palm Springs,” said Aluminaire House Foundation Board Member Mark Davis. “Our committee has worked passionately over the last three years to relocate the Aluminaire to Palm Springs. We will continue the work required to have it displayed permanently and available to the public. Once Aluminaire is reassembled, the full arc of Albert Frey’s career in America, from 1931 until his death in 1998 in Palm Springs, can be experienced in Palm Springs. It is considered a masterpiece of modernist design, recently listed by Architectural Record as one of the most important buildings completed worldwide in the past 125 years.”
About the Raymond Loewy House Tour and Reception
Raymond Loewy was a prolific industrial designer and became a design legend in his own lifetime, and his design philosophy still has an influence on the industrial design world today. Desert modernist architect Albert Frey designed Loewy’s brilliantly creative home in 1946-47. A modernist desert villa with a low-slung pavilion, the residence features walls of glass that provide striking views of desert, mountains, the pool and garden. It is a house of demure size, but enormous impact.
The home, restored under the direction of Marmol Radziner in 2000 (including the design of a complimentary stand-alone addition) is maintained in pristine condition, down to the free form, waist deep pool that famously extends into the living room. This event is an exceptional opportunity to experience this extraordinary home (listed in the National Register of Historic Places) while at the same time raising funds for the Aluminaire House. Special guests at this event will be Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani. It includes complimentary valet parking (required), a wine and light canapés reception and a limited edition 1931 Aluminaire House poster designed by acclaimed graphic artist, Gary Wexler. Tickets are available at modernismweek.com.
About the Aluminaire House
In 1931 the Allied Arts and Industries and the Architectural League of New York unveiled the starkly modern ‘Aluminaire,’ a prefabricated aluminum and steel home intended to be mass-produced and affordable, using inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials. It caught the attention of the public, so much that in just one week on exhibit, more than 100,000 visitors toured the home. The three-story house, which was assembled in just ten days, was designed by A. Lawrence Kocher, the managing editor of Architectural Record, and Albert Frey, then a 28-year-old Swiss architect who had recently emigrated to America after working in Paris for the great architect Le Corbusier. It was the first all-metal prefabricated house in the United States, and of such importance in the architectural world that it was featured in the first exhibition on architecture in 1932 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Aluminare emboldened a new architectural movement in the United States. While intended as a display of products, Aluminaire was also an overt demonstration of bringing together the ideas of mass production and high-density community planning.
When the exhibition ended, the building was purchased by architect Wallace Harrison, who relocated it to his country estate in Huntington, Long Island. It was relocated elsewhere on the estate several times and eventually the severely deteriorated structure became at risk for demolition in the late 1980s. A concerned group of preservationists, led by architects Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani, saved it and arranged for it to be donated to the New York Institute of Technology on Long Island, where it was restored and reassembled. When that campus closed, the house was again dismantled in 2012 and put into storage in New York where it languished in a shipping container.
Schwarting and Campani were invited to Modernism Week several years ago to present on Aluminaire. To an auditorium full of architectural enthusiasts, they presented their story about studying the home for more than 20 years, saving it from demolition, dismantling it once, reassembling it and then having to dismantle it yet again and put into storage, homeless. That day, an idea was hatched by a core group of 'believers,' who thought Palm Springs would make the perfect home.
Immediately after this, the California chapter of the non-profit Aluminaire House Foundation was registered, dedicated to raising funds to move the house to Palm Springs and reassemble it here for permanent display. This local committee, including Tracy Conrad, Mark Davis, Brad Dunning, Beth Edwards Harris and William Kopelk, began the task of raising funds and worked with the City of Palm Springs to secure the permanent location for the architecturally significant house in the new park owned by the City. Last year, the disassembled house was shipped to Palm Springs and has been in storage. Funds are being raised to reassemble the masterpiece.