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Aluminaire

History of Aluminaire

In 1930 Walter Sweet, co-chair of the joint Allied Arts and Industries and the Architectureal League of NY exhibition, asked A. Lawrence Kocher to come up with an idea for the biannual buildings products display. Kocher had been managing editor of Architectural Record since 1928, and thus had contact with people in the building products industry. At the previous League exhibition Kocher had made a full scale “modern architect’s office space” which had been a popular success. Perhaps in relation to this, Kocher hired Albert Frey, a 28 year old Swiss architect who had just arrived in the United States, having worked for Le Corbusier in Paris. The two proposed a model dwelling utilizing, and thus displaying, standard, “off the shelf” materials.

The design was influenced by the modern movement which had reached its zenith in Europe in terms of both image and its progressive political concern with housing. Albert Frey’s experience in Le Corbusier’s office provided the principle idea for a “maison minimum” which had been a common European concern for the housing problem of the industrial revolution city. In fact Kocher and Frey published an article in the same month’s Architectural Record showing similar units in an inner city ‘super block’ organization. However, it also seems to have been influenced by the American growth of industrial mass production materials and the advanced representation of this in Bucky Fuller’s work.

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Virtual Tour of Aluminaire

Jaime Jeminez - Final Project for HIAA 20122 Brown University

This is a digital rendering of A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey's 1931 prefabricated aluminum and steel home, intended to be mass-produced and affordable. It implements Le Corbusier's "Five Points Towards a New Architecture" in a compact space, and incorporates specially designed features to take advantage of its small footprint: a dumbwaiter, garden terrace, sliding screens and retractable furniture all were intended to make this a comfortable and functional "machine for living in".

Future of Aluminaire

Palm Springs, CA, February 1, 2018

The Aluminaire House Foundation will host a fundraising tour and reception to benefit the Aluminaire House during Modernism Week 2018. The tour and reception will be held at the Raymond Loewy estate in Palm Springs on February 23 at 3 PM. It will raise awareness of the 1931 Aluminaire House, a historically significant prefabricated aluminum and metal prototype residence designed by Albert Frey, that will soon be permanently situated in a portion of the new Palm Springs Downtown Park. Tickets are $150 - $250 and may be purchased at modernismweek.com.

Prior to the fundraiser, a free community update about the Aluminaire House and the new park will be presented at the Annenberg Theater in the Palm Springs Art Museum, on February 23 from 12:30 – 2 PM. At this community update, Mark Rios and Nate Cormier of Rios Clementi Hale Studios will share the firm’s design legacy and creative process and present the final concept for the new park, including the section where the Aluminaire will be located. Following this presentation will be a moderated conversation featuring architects Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani who have worked diligently for more than 25 years to save, protect and document Aluminiare. They will discuss why Palm Springs and the park is the perfect place for this historic and worldrenowned structure. Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance.

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Choose a Pledge Level

Pledge $100.00

Supporter Level

Pledge $250.00

Friends of Frey Level

Pledge $500.00

Aluminaire Level

Pledge $1,000.00

Foundation Level

Pledge $2,500.00

Aluminaire House Endowment Level

Aluminaire News

First American Project by Desert Modernism Architect to be Rebuilt in Palm Springs

Swiss-born Albert Frey was Palm Springs’ first full-time, resident architect. There, drawing inspiration from the arid climate’s vast landscapes of desolate geography, palm trees and constant sunshine, he emerged as one of the founders of the Desert Modernism movement, a regional take on mid-century Modernism. But before he ventured to Palm Springs in the 1940s, Frey’s first American […]

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The Aluminaire House finds a permanent home in Palm Springs

After a long and winding journey, the Aluminaire House has finally found a permanent home in Palm Springs, California. The 1,200-square-foot, all-metal house arrived in the high desert early last year on the back of a freight truck, just in time for the annual Modernism Week celebration. The home was greeted by a hero’s welcome after having just completed […]

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Help reassemble the Aluminaire House in Palm Springs, California.