In this Palm Springs Life Magazine article, author Lisa Marie Hart, takes a look at the work and impact of architect Donald Wexler.
Wexler is part of an elite circle of celebrated midcentury architects, including E. Stewart Williams, William F. ‘Bill’ Cody, John Lautner, Albert Frey, Richard Neutra, and William Krisel, who have become synonymous with Greater Palm Springs’ architecture, its aesthetic, and even its tourism; their epic careers seem to continue even without their physical presence. Wexler pioneered affordable steel houses, zigzagging caterpillar rooflines, and statement-making commercial buildings and left behind a city full of midcentury structures that permanently changed the world’s perceptions of Palm Springs.
Wexler served as architect on many local homes for developers, interspersed with some custom work, including Dinah Shore’s residence, a home for Sue and Alan Ladd, and one for Bob Higgins that eventually became Kirk Douglas’ house. Both on his own and with Harrison, he designed livable condominium and apartment complexes. Beyond the 40 Polynesian-themed units at the Royal Hawaiian Estates, designated as the city’s first residential historic district in 2010, there are Sagewood Condominiums, Twin Springs Condominiums, and the Rose Garden in Palm Springs, as well as Rancho Estates and Tamarisk Court in Rancho Mirage. In 2001, steel-and-glass entry gates opened onto four new-construction homes at Wexler’s Tropicana project in Palm Springs.
On a much larger scale are his civic and commercial endeavors, from the city’s police department, jail, and many area schools, to the Larson Justice Center in Indio, the Merrill Lynch Building, and Canyon Country Club (now Indian Canyons Golf Resort) in Palm Springs, and the original Palm Springs Spa Bath House. Since 1966, Wexler’s talent has made a bold first impression on visitors flying in to Palm Springs International Airport. Credited with bringing the jet age to the region, Wexler chose soaring glass panels to stand like gentle sentinels across the front of the main terminal.
Please use the following link to read the article and view the accompanying pictures, courtesy of Palm Springs Life Magazine: http://www.palmspringslife.com/Palm-Springs-Life/September-2015/The-Real-Steel/