Wexler and Harrison Steel Development Homes are some of Wexler’s most significant work. In 1960, the George Alexander Construction Company contracted Wexler and Harrison to Wexler to design an innovative neighborhood of all-steel homes at the then northern edge of Palm Springs. Due to the rising costs of steel, the project was halted after just seven homes were built. These innovative factory-fabricated, site-assembled steel houses combined prefabricated components with standard construction methodology and are now internationally acclaimed. The home is currently listed as a Class 1 property, recognized by the City of Palm Springs for its historic architectural significance. It is one of only 7 Steel Homes built.
The home is listed by The Paul Kaplan Group, Inc. for $689,000. For more information, click:
From Arch Daily,
- 20 Aug 2011
- by Oscar Lopez
“For Donald Wexler modern architecture is simply the right way to design. One of the true fundamental Modernist, Donald Wexler began his career working in the office of Richard Neutra. It was here that he became a true pragmatist, balking at any ideological rational for modernism and instead argue that his pursuit of modern design derives from its responsiveness to dynamic environmental, technological, and material conditions. Adaptability and flexibility, prominent aspects of Wexler’s personality, are values inherent in his conception of architectural space, systems, and materials.
It was this approach to modern design that led Donald Wexler to be one of the pioneers in the exploration of pre-fabrication and the use of light steel framing for both commercial and residential. It was in the offices of Neutra that Wexler first gained interest in working with steel framing, having Neutra’s Lovell Health House considered to be the first steel-frame residence in America.
One of the first steel-framed systems produced by Wexler and his partner Richard A. Harrison consisted of light-gauge structural steel frame, steel roof decking and insulated wall panels. These elements comprised the basic structural modules which, when bolted to a concrete slab, formed the permanent structure. Since the units were lightweight and structurally independent, they could be relocated. The wall panels were designed in 8-foot modules, allowing flexibility in the placement of doors and windows, as well as the feasibility of expanding the size of the structure.
While this pre-fabricated system was used mainly for modular classrooms it was later expanded to be used with residential homes in the Palm Springs area, an area where Donald Wexler would leave his mark and cement his legacy as one of the founders of the Palm Springs modernist movement.
While there were many factors for making lightweight steel-frame extremely attractive for residential purposes, it was the need to create housing for veterans in the postwar period combined with the desire of the steel industry to break into the residential housing market that eventually made it possible and feasible to produce pre-fabricated modular steel-framed houses on a large scale. This was later backed by the insufficient wood available to meet the U.S. demand for more than one million new houses each year. It would be through the examples from the Arts and Architecture Magazine’s Case Study House program that aesthetic possibilities were demonstrated with the steel house.”