E. Stewart Williams

E. Stewart Williams (1909-2005) is the architect of both the Palm Springs Art Museum and the museum’s Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion.

Williams arrived in Palm Springs in 1946 to join his father and brother in architectural practice. He designed commercial buildings and then his first important residential commission, the residence of Frank Sinatra. In his 50 year career, he became known for merging natural materials of the local setting with the precision of International Style Modernism in numerous projects that include houses, schools, hotels, banks, religious buildings, and educational and cultural institutions. Through his work, Williams helped define desert modernism, which is an adaptation of modern architectural concepts to the climatic extremes of the Coachella Valley. Along with the architecture of other desert modernists including Albert Frey, William F. Cody, and Donald Wexler, Williams work fueled the extraordinary revival of interest in Palm Springs modernism.


Architect E. Stewart Williams at the Museum Drive construction site. Construction began in February 1973, and the grand opening took place in January 1976. Photographer unknown.