PS Modernism Week: Park Imperial South

I’m still on my post-race running break — what perfect timing for a thorough enjoyment of Modernism Week!

After the over-the-top spectacle of the Elrod House, my choice for today’s tour was much more down to earth. I visited the Park Imperial South condominium complex. I was very interested in seeing this complex because it was designed by the same architect (Barry Berkus) and built by the same developer (Jack Meiselman) in the same year (1961) as my condo. Park Imperial South is in a quieter neighborhood, and the floor plans, while similar, are larger (3 bedrooms plus den in 1500 square feet versus my two bedrooms in 1100 square feet). In addition, the roofs (and hence the ceilings) are “folded plate” whereas my condo is “post-and-beam” (the roof/ceiling is flat with exposed beams at the ceiling).

The folded plates create striking visual effects outside and inside:

The distinctive inside-outside block walls had been modified by various homeowners over the years, but were recently restored throughout the complex with the help of grants from the local architectural preservation society, an effort for which the complex has earned wide recognition and official “historical architecture” designation. I love the light-and-shadow effects created by these highly-textured walls:

I was most taken by the little things, most of which I forgot to photograph. The similarities to my own condo were in the seemingly mundane details — closet doors, door knobs, the clips that hold the bathroom mirrors to the wall. There were a few larger things as well — the terrazzo strip that runs from just outside the front door straight through to the back patio (destroyed and tiled over in my unit… sigh), and the louvered windows. If you look closely at the center right of this photo you may see the louvered windows:

While the countertop, sink and faucet in the kitchen above have been highly updated, as was true of almost all of the kitchens on the tour, I saw several examples of the original bathroom countertops and faucets (identical to mine). I gained a new appreciation for my “ugly” bathroom faucets, which I’d wanted to replace but had to keep because Kurt and I ran out of remodeling money. Sometimes it’s best just to leave well enough alone.

 I’d forgotten that my tour ticket included a poolside reception with hors d’oeuvres, a band, and an open bar. As the twilight deepened, I looked around and felt a bittersweet regret… this is such a beautiful place and Kurt would have loved this day so much… as well as a renewed resolve to go home and get on with my life.

One step at a time…

Posted on February 18, 2012, in Architecture, Place and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I remember last year when you both were down, on what was to be Kurt’s last out of town visit. You went to the Alexander houses, I think? So glad that you did a goodbye tour of all things modern in PS, and so another chapter closes. Hugs, Geri

    • Geri,
      We missed Modernism Week itself last year, but yes we did an Alexander homes tour last March. Kurt was only strong enough to see a few of those houses, so I took lots of photos of the ones he missed.
      I suppose I’m still doing that, now — taking photos of things I wish he could have seen.

  2. I have never even considered an architectural tour of Palm Springs, yet I would really enjoy it! You have given me enough reason to keep that in mind as a possible easy road trip! I loved your photos. My heart dropped a bit with yours when you mentioned “looking around for Kurt”–wow! I’ll bet there are just going to be many of those times still…kind of emotional sucker-punches when you are otherwise having a good time! I can hear your REAL home calling! 🙂 Debra

    • Debra,
      Modernism Week tours sell out quickly each year. I think I bought my tickets last October just to be sure. It’s not something you can do on a whim, but it is absolutely worth planning ahead to do it. With those tickets in hand, it would certainly make a great day trip for you!

  3. My gosh, I looooove the walls. Is that weird?

  1. Pingback: Modernsim: Park Imperial South | Imagined worlds

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