Sunday, July 27, 2014

El Rancho Vista Estates

El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
When I first visited El Rancho Vista Estates in 1999, it was a sad experience, and more than a bit frightening. I was even concerned about getting out of my car. Its turnaround today, to one of the most beautiful and intact modernist neighborhoods in the Coachella Valley, is a shining example of how preservation can work for a community. 


El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
The neighborhood was originally designed by two of my favorite Palm Springs architects, Don Wexler and Richard Harrison, for the developer Roy Fey in 1960. 
El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
Like many of the Alexander tracts designed by William Krisel, El Rancho Vista Estates was intended as a way to bring innovative modernist design to the working classes. 
El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
Wexler even lived in one of the homes, himself, for a time, and still owns it. 

The homes are classic examples of desert modernism. Low-slung, with open floor plans, walls of glass to the backyards to blur indoors and outdoors, clerestory windows, butterfly, flat, and low-gabled rooflines... 
El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
The developer built about 75 homes on a lot just north east of the airport. But the area is a bit separated from the trendy shops and neighborhoods along Palm Canyon Drive, and fell on hard times. By the time I saw it in 1999, it was full of low-end rentals, drug houses, and worse. 
El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
Today, thanks to the efforts of a lot of dedicated homeowners, the neighborhood has been resurrected. For example, John Lewis and Jane Steichen-Lewis bought, lived in, renovated and resold more than twenty of these homes. And my friends Ashley and Erik Rosenow, who also live in the neighborhood and who are active on the board of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation (Erik is the president), have helped with home tours and awareness. 
El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
There is a true community spirit in the neighborhood - perhaps the strongest of any I've ever experienced in Palm Springs. I think there are probably more intact and restored modernist homes in El Rancho Vista Estates than anywhere else. 
El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley
El Rancho Vista
Photo ©Darren Bradley
The photos above are just the result of a very quick drive around the neighborhood. There are many, many other examples worthy of photographing, and in much greater detail than I have shown here. I hope to get back there soon to document more - and to get a few interiors! 
El Rancho Vista Estates
Photo ©Darren Bradley

4 comments:

Donald Jenny said...

I could so easily live in any of them. What beauties!!!

onkger said...

Nice picture brother, keep bloging and i like this ...

Rumah

bobbyroosco said...

These homes look very futuristic. I really like the landscape of these places. I agree with Donald, I could very easily live in one of these places. Thanks for the blog. http://www.heritageblds.com

Romy Kaiser said...

Love it! Also great saturation of the photos, truly beautiful.