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Palm Springs: New Architecture and Design Center to open in November

Palm Springs transforms classic E. Stewart Williams building into Midcentury Modernism design center

Each year Palm Springs dedicates a week to celebrating Midcentury Modernism architecture in the desert city. Now, it has more reason to celebrate.

The Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion, is set to open Nov. 9. It will provide a place to showcase the sleek style pioneered by architects such as Richard Neutra, Donald Frey and E. Stewart Williams.

In fact, the building at 300 S. Palm Canyon Drive that houses the center was created in by Williams in 1961 as the Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan. And the center's inaugural show will pay tribute to the architect.

The project is an expansion of the Palm Springs Art Museum, which also is housed in a Williams building. It bought the bank building in 2011 and has overseen the rehabilitation by L.A.-based Marmol Radziner architects.

Photos from architectural photographer Julius Shulman and Williams' original plans guided the work.

"The new A+D Center provides us with the much needed space for our permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, and the E. Stewart Williams-designed building itself is an important addition to our collection," museum curator Sidney Williams said in a statement.

The glass-and-steel building with floor-to-ceiling windows will house a gallery and exhibitions as well as a lower-level study center and offices, according to the statement. A design store will be in the bank's old vault, which is still intact.

The exhibition "An Eloquent Modernist: E. Stewart Williams, Architect" will be the center's first show. It will include models, photos, renderings and drawings that cover the architect's half-century career and remain on display through Feb. 22.

Before then, the city will mark its stylish roots with Modernism Week from Oct. 10 to 13, when visitors can tour of some of the city's most prominent design houses.

Info: Palm Springs Museum's Architecture and Design Center; Modernism Week

 

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