Few can imagine Palm Springs without the aesthetic impact of the Alexander Construction Company. Twin Palms was where the father-son developer team of George and Robert Alexander began their legacy, in conjunction with architect William Krisel. It is the first midcentury modern neighborhood built by the Alexanders and the first housing tract in Palm Springs.
Twin Palms introduced the desert to an indoor-outdoor lifestyle through cool modernist elements: carports, breezeways, and walls of glass that slid open to a backyard pool. Clerestory windows, exposed concrete block, and butterfly roofs instantly and forever changed the city’s landscape. Along the South Palm Springs streets of Twin Palms, Krisel employed the modern idea of rotating a single floorplan then adding different rooflines for an economy of building with a custom-home appearance. Post-and-beam construction was a radical concept for a tract neighborhood. These pioneers set a mod tone for the valley’s future developers. To attract home-seekers to their affordable 90-home tract, the Alexander family built the Ocotillo Lodge (Palmer & Krisel, 1956). With its bold and boxy entrance along Palm Canyon Drive, the hotel (now refurbished condos) provided an eye-catching front face for the new modern neighborhood. Some contemporary homes now mingle with the midcentury Alexanders, many have been faithfully restored, and some with the participation of the late William Krisel. The committed Twin Palms Neighborhood Organization promotes this important neighborhood’s history and integrity.
Around the corner, the Ace Hotel & Swim Club (something akin to Coachella fest’s permanent home in the desert) and L’Horizon Resort & Spa (William Cody, 1952) embellish the resort experience.
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