Palm Springs Modern Architecture: Wexler's Seven Homes of Steel Revitalized

Palm Springs, CA, May 09, 2013 --( Paul Kaplan of The Paul Kaplan Group announced today that Steel House #1, one of the iconic designs by Mid-century Modern architect Donald Wexler, F.A.I.A. has sold for $625,000. One of just seven all steel modular homes nestled in the historic Racquet Club Estates in North Palm Springs, the home is set to be restored to its original condition by its new owners. Kaplan commented, "This home is historically and architecturally significant to the Mid-century Modern style. The new owners plan to complete a sensitive restoration that will restore the home to its original design and will be included in a vacation rental program of architecturally significant vacation rental properties in the Palm Springs area."

Donald Wexler, one of Palm Springs’ “big five” modernists, designed what was set to be a tract of thirty-six all steel modular homes in the early 1960s in conjunction with famed builder The Alexander Company. A visionary, he saw steel building as a solution to providing high volume, affordable housing for the masses. Unfortunately, due to rising steel costs, only seven of the planned thirty-six were completed and over the years, many of these desert gems languished and fell into disrepair. Kaplan stated, “Thanks to a renewed interest in all things Mod, the dedication of the homeowners, and with help from organizations such as The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, these important works are being preserved.”

Steel House #1 a two-bedroom, two-bath 1,532 square foot home is a shining example of a Mid-century design: clean, simple lines, an open floor plan, and quiet interaction with the surrounding elements. A folded steel plate roof shades the sun during the hot summer months while letting light in during the winter months when the sun is lower on the horizon. The unique roof line creates an air baffle that acts as a heat sink to help draw heat away from the living areas as well as create shaded areas over the windows. The steel walls along with the roof design easily cope the harsh heat and winds of the desert. Kaplan added, “What is remarkable about this and its six counterparts is the uniqueness of their construction: they were fabricatedoffsite and assembled onsite, and save for the foundation, plumbing, and electrical, were constructed almost entirely of steel. Part of the reasoning behind the all-steel construction is its ability to withstand the heat and windy nature of the Palm Springs area, another was the cost effectiveness of steel materials.” Each of the homes could be constructed on a site-poured concrete slab in about two days and originally sold for an affordable $14,000.

"Kaplan, who is an active supporter of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, added, "These seven homes were recently designated as Class 1 Historic Sites by the City of Palm Springs in 2001. House No. 2 was also listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, the first Mid-century home in Palm Springs to be honored with that distinction."

The Paul Kaplan Group is a real estate firm specializing in mid-century and modern homes as well as vacation properties in the Palm Springs area. The Paul Kaplan Group can be reached at 760-459-1396 or through their website at
The Paul Kaplan Group
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