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More Than Desert Modern: William F. Cody’s Visions of Postwar Architecture and Leisure Living

In the Coachella Valley, William F. Cody created new visions of modernism, desert architecture, and postwar living. The authors of Master of the Midcentury illustrate Cody’s indelible imprint.

$15 (1 hr)

Category: Book Signing, Presentation, Talk, CAMP Theater

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William F. Cody (1916–1978) was one of the preeminent modernist architects of the American West. Through his designs for houses, hotels, spas, and golf clubs, he helped make the desert enclave of Palm Springs a crucible of mid-century modernism and postwar casual luxury. From icons like the Del Marcos Hotel (1946), to inventive country clubs like the Eldorado (1957), to houses for celebrities, Cody's projects defined an emerging West Coast lifestyle that combined glamour, leisure, and experimental design. 

His iconic projects are recognized for their disciplined aesthetic, precision craftsmanship, and technically innovative designs. In work ranging from residential to commercial centers, from industrial complexes to master plans, Cody exhibited a dedication to refined material combinations, a love of patterns and textures, and a passion for the play of light and shadow.

This presentation focuses on the impact of Cody’s early desert designs, including the 1955 Jorgensen/Mavis residence in Thunderbird Country Club Estates in Rancho Mirage. Lovingly maintained in its original condition, this house inspired a Houston couple to commission Cody for a similar, but much larger house outside Houston, which is currently being restored by the grandson of the original owners.

The three presenters are the co-authors of Master of the Midcentury: The Architecture of William F. Cody (New York: Monacelli Press, 2021), the authoritative resource on Cody’s prolific, diverse, and innovative career.

Catherine Cody, third daughter of William F. Cody, has a background in residential building and interior design. LinkedIn     
Jo Lauria is a curator and design historian 
Dr. Don Choi is an architectural historian and professor of architecture at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo
Dr. Don Choi 

Along with Dr. Emily Bills, Cody, Lauria, and Choi co-curated the 2016 exhibition “Fast Forward: The Architecture of William F. Cody” at the A+D Museum in Los Angeles.


Things to Know
This event is for 
12 and older.
Ample free public parking is available.
Enter underground parking at Hyatt on Palm Canyon Drive or in the multi-level public garage across from the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Handicap parking is available.
This event is wheelchair accessible.
The organizer of this event is Modernism Week.

Event Check-in Location
Modernism Week Theater At CAMP

Hyatt Palm Springs
285 N Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92262
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Photo Credits:  Julius Shulman, J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute – Erwin Lang – Gail B. Thompson Studio

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