June 15, 1947: Visiting the Edgar Kaufmann House in Palm Springs

Edgar Kaufmann House
Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

Tract developments may be sprawling across the Valley, but The Times’ Sunday Home section for June 15, 1947, features an unusual house designed for the California desert.

“With the miracles of modern technology of building materials opening this landscape for our enjoyment, modern architects are bringing the elusive, mysterious and compelling land of the desert to their own terms,” The Times says.

June 15, 1947, Edgar Kaufmann House

Set amid boulders, the home capitalizes on its surroundings, with large glass windows providing views of mountains and cacti. “Sandstorms and sun radiation have been changed from formidable handicaps to interesting, attractive experiences by the use of movable, tall, vertical blinds of satin-finished aluminum.”

The swimming pool is heated, and coils are embedded in the surrounding patio to keep it from getting too hot. The entire home is heated and cooled by a thermostatically controlled flow of water in radiant coils, “icy water for cooling and hot water for heating.”

The living room has built-in bookshelves and a record player/radio, and is dominated by a massive fireplace of Utah flagstone. The furniture is made of naturally finished hardwoods.

“Those who study architecture today may well live to be called upon for a design of a reception building in a moon crater when rocket ships start a traffic through space.” If and when such a time comes, a building would have to fit the landscape, says the home’s designer, Richard J. Neutra.

Edgar Kaufmann house, 470 W. Vista Chino, Palm Springs (note, this is a private residence and not open to the public).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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