a prototype of the iconic, all-metal aluminaire house™ is landing at palm springs art museum

a prototype of the iconic, all-metal aluminaire house™ is landing at palm springs art museum

Aluminaire House™ prototype at Palm Springs Art Museum

 

The Palm Springs Art Museum in California is launching an upcoming permanent exhibit of architects Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher’s seminal prototype structure, Aluminaire House™, on its downtown Palm Springs campus. Named after its aluminum components, the project was initially conceived in 1931 as an experiment to explore new industrial materials and Modern design in creating low-cost housing. It represents Frey’s utopian belief that the power of U.S. industry could be used to create affordable housing for everyone. The structure will be accessible in February 2024 on the museum’s south parking lot and will be timed to the exhibition Albert Frey: Inventive Modernist that opens January 13, 2024, at the Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion.

a prototype of the iconic, all-metal aluminaire house™ is landing at palm springs art museum
Aluminaire House™ on-site at Palm Springs Art Museum, 2023 | rendering by Claudia Cengher

 

 

the first, all-metal us home by A. Lawrence Kocher & Albert Frey

 

Initially shown in 1931 as part of the Architectural League of New York’s annual Exposition of Architectural and Allied Arts, the Aluminaire House™ was one of the first examples of Modern architectural design in the United States and the country’s first all-metal house. The structure was built as a collaboration between Swiss-American architect Albert Frey and architect and editor A. Lawrence Kocher, each deeply inspired by European Modernism as exemplified by Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. The house notably used all factory-made prefabricated materials sourced from distributors across the Eastern United States, such as sheet metal, plate glass, steel beams, and linoleum, to provide a case study of building modern mass-produced, affordable housing.

 

Upon its first public showing, Aluminaire House™ was praised an icon of modern practical design. It was later erected at a private residence in upstate New York, where it ultimately fell into disrepair. In 1986, through the efforts of architects Frances Campani and Michael Schwarting, the house was acquired and moved to the New York Institute of Technology on Long Island. The closure of that campus necessitated another relocation of Aluminaire. Campani, Schwarting, and Palm Springs resident Mark Davis established a foundation to facilitate the relocation to Palm Springs Art Museum. This move aligns with the museum’s ongoing work to preserve other examples of Frey’s legacy throughout the Coachella Valley.

a prototype of the iconic, all-metal aluminaire house™ is landing at palm springs art museum
original design from 1931 | image courtesy Palm Springs Art Museum

 

 

honoring Albert Frey’s legacy with a special exhibition

 

Timed to the completion of the Aluminaire House™ is a special exhibition opening at the museum’s Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion, on January 13, 2024. Titled Albert Frey: Inventive Modernist, the showcase documents the Swiss-American architect’s life and career, complementing the permanent exhibit by offering a survey into Frey’s ‘simple but severe’ style of Desert Modernism that cemented his legacy as one of the most influential architects of his time. Brad Dunning is curating the retrospective, presenting rare and previously unexhibited architectural models, drawings, films, photographs, and furniture. A richly illustrated hardbound book published by Radius Books will accompany the exhibition with contributions from writers, historians, and architectural critics.

The museum launched a capital campaign in January 2023 to raise the needed $2.6 million to complete the construction. To date, the campaign has reached $2.3 million of that goal.

a prototype of the iconic, all-metal aluminaire house™ is landing at palm springs art museum
exterior perspective sketch of Aluminaire House™ by Kocher & Frey, 1931 | graphite, colored pencil on paper, 12 x 15” | courtesy Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

a prototype of the iconic, all-metal aluminaire house™ is landing at palm springs art museum
Aluminaire House™ cut-away in Popular Mechanics 56, no.2, August 1931 | collection of Palm Springs Art Museum, Albert Frey Collection 55-1999.2

a prototype of the iconic, all-metal aluminaire house™ is landing at palm springs art museum
Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher at Rockefeller Center Cafeteria, New York, 1931 | collection of Palm Springs Art Museum. Albert Frey Collection, 55-1999.2. | image by unknown

aluminaire-house-palm-springs-art-museum-designboom-full

Aluminaire House™ on-site at Palm Springs Art Museum, 2023 | rendering by Claudia Cengher

 

project info:

 

name: Aluminaire House™ prototype

location: Palm Springs Art Museum | @psartmuseum, California 

original authors: Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher

museum coordinators: L.J. Cella and Leo Marmol / Marmol Radziner

exhibition curator: Brad Dunning

prototype opening date: February 2024 

exhibition opening date: January 13, 2023 

KEEP UP WITH OUR DAILY AND WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS
suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom

ALUMINUM ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN (55)

ARCHITECTURE IN CALIFORNIA (255)

EXHIBITION DESIGN (522)

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES (639)

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5