Modernism Week, the annual festival that highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, will offer exclusive tours of stunning architecture and provide opportunities for design professionals to earn learning unit credits. The 11-day event runs February 16-26, 2023 and offers more than 350 programs. Tickets may be purchased at modernismweek.com and a portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week (a non-profit organization) and other local preservation, neighborhood, and community groups.

Some of the newly added events include:

Exclusive Tour of the Kellogg Doolittle House in Joshua Tree (2/20, $1,000; tour goes from 10 am – 3 pm)

Modernism Week is honored to offer an exclusive tour of the Kellogg Doolittle High Desert House in Joshua Tree, one of the most intriguing and exclusive residential properties to ever be built in Southern California. This private residence, designed by Ken Kellogg, is admired all over the world for its awe-inspiring organic details but is rarely open to guests. This Modernism Week tour is one of the first groups to experience the home’s interior rooms and tour it with the homeowner and the craftsman who has worked on it for more than 25 years. This special tour is limited to only 20 guests and is exclusive to Modernism Week 2023. 

The tour ticket includes registration for one person, roundtrip VIP motor coach transportation to and from Palm Springs, a gourmet boxed lunch, and a guided tour of the property with the homeowner, craftsman John Vugrin, and CEO of Modernism Week Lisa Vossler Smith. Purchase of this exclusive tour helps support Modernism Week’s ongoing educational and scholarship programs. $500 of the ticket price is tax-deductible. Interior photography will not be permitted.  

About the Kellogg Doolittle High Desert House:

Created in 1988 by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg and built over the following 25+ years, the “High Desert House,” formerly owned by artists Bev and Jay Doolittle, is a marvel of organic architecture. The residence, nestled into the rocky edge of Joshua Tree National Park, has been hand fabricated over time and nearly every element inside and out is one of a kind. The home and most of its interior furnishings were designed and handcrafted by architect Ken Kellogg and Master Craftsman John Vugrin. 

House of Tomorrow Home Tour (2/16 – 2/21, $55 for tour, $100 for tour and reception)

Exclusive to Modernism Week, tours will be available for the newly renovated Alexander Estate, known as the House of Tomorrow and popularly as the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway where Elvis and Priscilla Presley honeymooned in 1967. Located in the historic Vista Las Palmas neighborhood, this extraordinary home was built in 1960 by architect William Krisel for Helene and Robert Alexander of the Alexander Construction Company. The architect designed a series of four interconnected circular pods, embodying Krisel’s view that “circles have no edge – you can approach them from anywhere.” Many original and dramatic features have been restored including the terrazzo floors, windows, ceiling mounted fireplaces, and the custom circular sofa in the living room. A twilight tour and cocktail reception for a limited number of guests at House of Tomorrow will be available each day at 4:30 p.m. This tour is for ages 21 and older.

Festive Celebration of Permanent Nighttime Lighting of Palm Springs Visitor Center (2/16, free). Since 2012 Modernism Week has dramatically lit the glorious Palm Springs Visitor Center as part of its annual lighting of the city’s many important modern buildings. Its success inspired the Palm Springs Modern Committee to secure funding to permanently light Albert Frey’s modern sculptural masterpiece. In late 2022, a combination of Measure J funds and PS ModCom contributions achieved this ambitious goal. At this special occasion, Palm Springs Mayor Grace Garner, the Palm Springs Modern Committee Board of Directors, and Modernism Week’s Board of Directors Chairman, William Kopelk, will be present for this exciting official lighting ceremony. The event is free and no tickets are required. 

Modernism Week Events for Design Professionals

More than 20 programs during Modernism Week provide AIA/CES Learning Units for design professionals participating in selected events. One hour of continuing education earns one learning unit for American Institute of Architects Architect and International Associate members.

In addition, Modernism Week sponsor Willis will offer a Private VIP Bus Tour highlighting the best of Modernism Week for design professionals. Participants will visit the Palm Springs-based Featured Homes of Modernism Week, attend CAMP headquarters for a lunch and professional education session, then conclude their day with a cocktail reception at Modernism Week Featured Home Hi-Sun with live entertainment. These tours are offered on February 22 and 23. For more information about the Private VIP Bus Tour, go to 4willis.com/modernism-week-2023/.

Part of the tour proceeds help Modernism Week provide scholarships to local students and supports state preservation organizations in their efforts to preserve modernist architecture throughout the state of California.

Modernism Week Events that offer AIA learning units include:

Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour (2/16 – 2/26, $120, 2.5 AIA/CES Learning Units)

Modernism Week’s signature bus tour provides guests with an overview of the most significant midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs.

Architecture Unbound: A Century of the Disruptive Avant-Garde (2/17, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). Joseph Giovannini coined the term Deconstructivism in the 1980s to describe the explosively complex buildings by such architecture “disruptors” as Gehry, Hadid, Eisenman, Koolhaas, and Libeskind.

Restoring Midcentury Modern: An Architect and Builder’s Perspective (2/17, $12, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). An architect and builder share their experience renovating midcentury houses, including examples by Walter Gropius and Philip Johnson, to address thermal comfort, energy performance, and durability.

Keynote Presentation: Thom Mayne, FAIA (2/18, $125, $65, $40, 1.25 AIA/CES Learning Units)

Modernism Week is honored to welcome architect Thom Mayne, FAIA, founding partner of Morphosis, as keynote presenter for 2023. This event is sponsored by Sunset Magazine.

The Modern Utopia: Why the Southern California Desert? (2/19, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit)

What is it about Los Angeles and Palm Springs that produced the architectural movement that we know today as California Modernism? Presented by Leo Marmol, FAIA.

Modern Eclecticism: Carlo Mollino: Architect & Storyteller (2/19, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit)

With Carlo Mollino: Architect and Storyteller, Michelangelo Sabatino presents the first carefully researched and comprehensive study of Mollino’s distinctive Italian Modern Movement architecture.

Frances Anderton – L.A.’s Multifamily Housing Story (2/19, $12, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit)

As Los Angeles confronts a growing housing crisis, a city known for its single-family housing will inevitably shift toward a greater emphasis on apartments and other types of multi-family housing.

Gio Ponti’s Denver Art Museum: The Evolution of an Architectural Icon (2/19, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). Gio Ponti’s radical design of a new building for the Denver Art Museum was completed in 1971 and recently restored. Darrin Alfred shares his insights on the inception and design of this masterpiece.

Who Is the City For? Architecture, Equity, and the Public Realm in Chicago (2/19, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). As the Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic at the Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin wrote with clarity and power about all aspects of the built environment, seeking equity in our public realm.

Stories Untold — Asian American Architects and Midcentury Modernism: Influential Design and Social Exclusion (2/20, $18, 2.5 AIA/CES Learning Units). Modernism is deeply influenced by Japanese design and architecture, Architects of Asian descent helped shape mid-century Southern California, despite deep-rooted discrimination. Stories Untold shines a light on some Asian architects rarely given the attention deserved. This presentation is underwritten by Room & Board.

Vishaan Chakrabarti: Design and the Future of Our Communities (2/20, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). Vishaan Chakrabarti, leading architect and urbanist will discuss the relevance and importance of great design to the pressing issues of our time.

The Untold Story of African American Architect, Robert Kennard, FAIA (2/20, $12, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). Gail Kennard, daughter of African American architect, Robert Kennard, unveils a remarkable body of work and network of architects he worked with to create a new design aesthetic in a growing Los Angeles.

Donald Judd’s Architecture – in Context of 2023 (2/20, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). Urs Peter Flueckigerwill examines why the architectural ideas of Judd are still significant and why the context, as seen in Marfa, Texas, is fundamental for the desert climate of the American southwest.

Black Leaders of Leisure in Southern California during the Jim Crow Era: The Implications of their Stories Today (2/20, $12, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). Historian Alison Rose Jefferson investigates the recreational places Black Californians created from 1900 into the 60s, during Jim Crow times, seeking to make the California Dream a reality for all.

ISOKON and the BAUHAUS: A Century of Modernist Design (2/22, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). Authors Daybelge and Englund reveal the story of the Isokon, from its beginnings to the present day, and examine the work, artistic networks, and legacy of the Bauhaus artists while in Britain.

Twilight Architectural Bus Tour (2/17 – 2/25, $60, 1.25 AIA/CES Learning Units). The Twilight Architectural Bus Tour provides guests with an evening view of some of the most significant midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs. 

Lake Arrowhead Modern (2/22, $12, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit). AIA Architect Diane Wilk, who spent her childhood summers on Lake Arrowhead, was inspired as a youngster by meeting architect Paul Williams, one of many famed architects who built on the lake.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the Emergence of Global Modernism (2/23, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit)  

Stuart Graff and Dr. Jennifer Gray of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation examine FLW’s pivotal role in the development of modern architectural design in the 20th century, and its relevance today.

Walter Gropius: Between the Bauhaus and Harvard (2/23, $15, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit)  

Walter Gropius architect, designer, and visionary founder of the Bauhaus School was one of the most influential pioneers of International Modernism.

Reimagining Architecture | Space as a Lever for Change (2/24, $12, 1 AIA/CES Learning Unit) 

Grace Farms is known globally not only for its award-winning modern design but for its ambitious mission to advance good in the world. CEO and Founder Sharon Prince shares her vision for change.

Encore: Sustainable Homes Tour (2/25, $70, 2 CES/HSW Learning Units). Tour some of the High Desert’s most sustainable homes. Learn about homes that not only generate their own power, but are doing it in style.

Modernism Week top sponsors include Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Brizo, Dunn-Edwards Paints, JennAir, Toyota, Azure Sky, Flor, Soho House, and Willis. The City of Palm Springs is the Civic Presenting Sponsor. 

For hotel accommodations, guests are encouraged to book the exclusive Modernism Week Opening Weekend hotel package at of the newly opened deluxe Azure Sky Hotel for 4 nights and 5 days. Ticket price includes deluxe boutique hotel accommodations for 4 nights (including resort fees and taxes), and tickets to the most desirable Modernism Week events over 5 days. Go to modernismweek.com for more details. Guests may also choose to stay at The Hyatt, the only all-suite hotel in Palm Springs that offers separate living spaces and balconies. Use Hyatt’s group code MOD23 for a discount off the best available rate.

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