Monday, March 21, 2011

Forgotten Wexler & Harrison Rediscovered

Legendary local architect Donald Wexler confirmed recently that this sleek, early (for Palm Springs) International Style building was produced by his firm in their early years. Wexler & Harrison briefly maintained offices upstairs in the A. Quincy Jones / Paul R. Williams-designed Town & Country Center complex. They were commissioned by the building’s original owners to create a new office building fro E. F. Hutton within the compound, just off the walkway that leads to the courtyard. The result was this refined, minimalist structure with green terrazzo flooring throughout and a simple, open interior space. Its grey terrazzo tile fa├žade could use some polishing, and through the magic of Photoshop, I have restored the long gone awning fabric, but the formalist purity of the building survives largely unaltered. After a few years, E. F. Hutton relocated to a Hugh Kaptur building on Tahquitz Canyon Way. This handsome structure remains vacant and unprotected. Ironically, during a time when the city celebrates Don Wexler’s contributions to the local architectural scene through an exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum, spokesman for the Museum recently endorsed the current Desert Fashion Plaza Development Plan, which would result in the demolition of this fine example of Wexler & Harrison‘s work.

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