Recently the exhibit “William Krisel’s Twin Palms” was installed at the Palm Springs Public Library to be on display in the main library atrium until November 24, 2018. The public may view the exhibit during regular library hours.
William Krisel was the architect that brought the Mid-Century Modernist aesthetic to tract housing in the Coachella Valley and sparked a population wave that continues to this day. This exhibit focuses on his work in Twin Palms—the first completed Modernist neighborhood in the region.
“William Krisel’s Twin Palms” brings to life the innovations Krisel introduced and which have since become iconic landmarks of Desert Modernism. Eric Chiel, a Twin Palms resident, created the exhibit. Mr. Chiel notes that prior to Krisel, there was a smattering of Modernist structures in the desert, and all were one-off designs that were prohibitively costly as residences for the middle class. “Krisel’s genius,” he says, “was in the many ways in which he created homes that appeared to be custom built and unique, but were actually tract homes that could be economically constructed without compromising quality. His innovations made homes available to the masses that were well designed, attractive, practical for desert living, and which retain their appeal 60 years later.”
The exhibit is currently comprised of five narrative-and-graphics panels, two display cases of artifacts and ephemera, and a “street” of detailed, scale-model homes, each depicting one of the four original designs for Twin Palms residences. Mr. Chiel conceived and developed the exhibit and wrote the panel texts. Local art director Stuart Funk was the graphic designer. Contemporary photography was provided by David A. Lee, Clark Dugger, and James Schnepf. Historical graphics were provided by the Getty Research Institute (curator of the William Krisel archives), and The Huntington Library. Production of the exhibit was funded entirely by the Twin Palms Neighborhood Organization and through supplemental donations from some of its individual members. A campaign to secure additional funding will be launched to finance the cost of producing additional panels, a video kiosk, and other enhancements.