Palm Springs Preservation Foundation
Concrete Screen Block

About the Book. The book tells the fascinating story of concrete screen block one of the least appreciated, but more readily recognizable, of midcentury building materials. Using both vintage and new images, Concrete Screen Block: The Power of Pattern chronicles the history of how screen block exploded onto the architectural scene in the late 1950s (propelled by architect Edward Durell Stone), reached its peak at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and slowly diminished in popularity into the 1970s. The clever marketing of screen block as “fashionable” is examined as well as later marketing attempts to find new uses for the material. The book describes concrete screen block’s recent resurgence in popularity and the appropriation of its patterns by a host of artists and designers. The book includes an identification guide of over 250 screen block patterns, some verging on the sculptural.

Concrete Screen Block: The Power of Pattern

Scheduled for release in February of 2018, the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation will publish a book entitled Concrete Screen Block: The Power of Pattern, by Ron and Barbara Marshall. Talented graphic designer Gary Wexler is charged with the layout and design of the 120-page book.

The scholarly and lavishly-illustrated book will both educate and raise awareness about concrete screen block, an important midcentury building material. Sometimes called breeze or perforated block, screen block was used by many of the major architects of the era, including Edward Durell Stone, and by architects like William Krisel and William Cody in Southern California. The PSPF book catalogs over 250 patterns and is the result of many years of research. PSPF believes that this book will help identify rare examples of this extraordinary building material and will greatly aid future historic preservation efforts (Palm Springs alone has an incredible 40+ block patterns in its building inventory).

In addition to contemporary professional photographs, PSPF has obtained permission to use many extraordinary vintage photos from the National Concrete Masonry Association.

This PSPF educational effort is fundamentally different from the foundation's past journal projects. While Palm Springs is certainly a point of focus, this book is national in scope and will help inform preservation efforts throughout the Sunbelt, from California to Florida.


Power of Pattern Sponsors



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