DOCOMOMO Architectural Bus Tour Highlight: Twin Palms

Photo by Jackie Craven

First-time visitors and experienced architectural adventurers alike love the signature Palm Springs Modernism Week architectural bus tours.  The guided double-decker bus tours wind their way through some of the most notable neighborhoods in Palm Springs, giving guests the perfect vantage point from which to peek over fences to catch a glimpse of some of the most remarkable architectural landmarks in town.   This year, Palm Springs Modernism Week will be hosting a series of signature bus tours during the DOCOMOMO National Tour Weekend October 5th through October 8th.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll highlight a few of the drive-by destinations on the tour to give readers a taste of what they can look forward to seeing in October, and of course this coming Spring at Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013.

Photo by Mark Picascio

Among the many highlights on the bus tour is a drive-by visit to the Menrad Residence in Twin Palms Estates.  Named for the pair of palms that were planted in the front yard of each home, the Twin Palms neighborhood is home to a dozen residences designed by famed architecture firm Palmer & Krisel and built by the Alexander Construction Company.  Architect Bill Krisel, now in his nineties, has been directly involved in the restoration and renovation of some of these homes, specifically the Menrad Residence.  The estate was built in 1957 and all 12 houses were designed to the same floor plan, but positioned differently, and come with Krisel’s signature feature- the butterfly roof. Even though the floor plans were essentially all the same 40 x 40 foot square, the different rooflines, rotation of the home on the lot and unique exterior finishes gave the homes a custom look.  Filled with natural light and seamlessly blending indoors with out, the homes were initially priced at around the $30,000 range.  Palmer and Krisel were the first to create a new formula for a modern, custom-like tract that would ultimately be emulated throughout the Coachella Valley and Southern California.

If a drive by and a peek at the gardens of the Mendrad Residence isn’t quite enough, you can always grab a virtual tour here, courtesy of Kurt Cyr, including a great shot of Bill Krisel himself.

Photo by Kurt Cyr

Check out the full schedule of DOCOMOMO architectural bus tours here and catch a ride back in time on our double decker buses!
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