Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion
The Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion, in downtown Palm Springs is the hub of the museum's exploration of architecture and design, and houses related exhibitions and educational and community programs, as well as research space and a storage area for the museum's growing architecture and design collections and archives.
The building, purchased by the museum in 2011, is a classic midcentury International style structure. After changing hands several times, it received Class 1 Historic Site protective status. The rehabilitation was overseen by preeminent Los Angeles architecture firm Marmol Radziner, known for the restoration of the famed Kaufmann House and the Ship of the Desert residence, both in Palm Springs. The firm based its restoration designs on black-and-white photographs of the building taken by Julius Shulman, as well as Williams' original drawings.
The 13,000 square-foot glass and steel building is elevated above street level, and the glass pavilion features floor-to-ceiling windows that perfectly frame the cityscape and the surrounding San Jacinto Mountains. The main level features gallery space for architecture and design exhibitions, curatorial offices, and a store located in and around the bank vault, which retains its original door. The lower level will become a study center as well as provide meeting, archive spaces, and library.
Renovations included removing office dividers to create one seamless space, removing carpeting to reveal the original terrazzo floor, and adding sustainable desert landscaping. The museum also added an elevator, restored the perimeter retaining walls, and replaced and restored the movable, anodized aluminum screens original to the west-facing facade. A campaign to restore the east-facing screens is being developed.
Palm Springs Art Museum holds major collections of modern and contemporary art, glass, photography, architecture and design, and Native American and Western art. The museum was also designed by E. Stewart Williams in 1976 and expanded by him in 1996.
Over the last 12 years, Palm Springs Art Museum has placed a growing emphasis on exhibitions devoted to architecture and design. The museum's architecture collections (including drawings, photography, and models) are growing rapidly, as highlighted by the gift of the large L.J. Cella Collection of drawings, photographs, and objects. The museum also holds significant portions of the Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams, and Arthur Elrod/Harold Broderick archives. The collection also includes Frey House-II, the historically significant residence in Palm Springs that architect Albert Frey designed for himself and bequeathed to the museum.
"We want to ensure that our growing collection is accessible to architects, scholars, and the general public, and that we have the opportunity to develop more programming focused on architecture and design, including current innovations in these fields," said Sidney Williams, the museum's curator of architecture and design. "The A+D Center provides us with the much needed space for our permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, and the E. Stewart Williams-designed building itself is an important addition to our collection."
Palm Springs Art Museum launched a capital campaign in 2011 to raise funds for the purchase and rehabilitation of the A+D Center. Three donors provided the lead gifts for the purchase of the building: Trina Turk and Jonathan Skow, Elizabeth Edwards Harris, and John Boccardo, and more than 130 founding members committed $25,000 to support the rehabilitation and initial operations.