The Aluminaire House was designed as a case study by architects A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey in April of 1931. The three-story house, made of donated materials and built in ten days, was the first all-metal house in the United States. It was shown in the Grand Central Palace exhibition hall on Lexington Avenue in New York City as part of the Architectural and Allied Arts Exhibition. In 1932, the house was exhibited again at the Architectural League of New York show sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The MOMA show was entitled “The International Style – Architecture Since 1922,” which became the basis of a book by Philip Johnson and Henry Russell Hitchcock. The Aluminaire House arrived in Palm Springs (unassembled) in February of 2017.
As part of its programming for Modernism Week in February 2021, the Aluminaire Foundation premiered a fascinating 38-minute film entitled “Albert Frey, the 1931 Aluminaire House and Palm Springs – The Story.” During the film architect Frances Campani and Palm Springs Art Museum director Louis Grachos recognized PSPF’s recent grant.
Watch the Film
On December 14, 2020, PSPF sent a letter to the Aluminaire House Foundation (California) informing them of the award of a $100,000 grant to aid in the “assembly and display” of the historic structure. PSPF’s grant letter states, in part, that “[PSPF] believes the assembly and display of the historic Aluminaire House…in Palm Springs will reinforce the city’s international reputation as a mecca for modernist architecture.” A condition of the PSPF grant is that the assembly and display of the Aluminaire House be completed, to PSPF’s satisfaction, no later than December 31, 2023. To read the PSPF grant letter click here.
In the summer of 2020, the Aluminaire House Foundation passed a major milestone when it received a “Certificate of Appropriateness” from the city of Palm Springs’ Historic Site Preservation Board to allow for the siting of the Aluminaire House on the grounds of the Palm Springs Art Museum.
To read more about the Aluminaire House click here.