News February 2024

Architect's rendering, Aluminaire House on Palm Springs Art Museum site.
Reconstruction nearing completion in Palm Springs, February 2024. Photo: Ian L. Sitren, source:
Aluminaire House during its tenure at New York Institute of Technology, Central Islip, Long Island. Photo courtesy Aluminaire House Foundation.
Aluminaire House, 1931, lbert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher.

Aluminaire House is readied for its next life—in Palm Springs

February 25, 2024

The Aluminaire House (1931) designed by Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher will officially open on the grounds of the Palm Springs Art Museum on March 26 (although everyone at Palm Springs Modernism Week this week is getting a sneak preview). The house was disassembled and trucked from Long Island, NY to Palm Springs, CA, several years ago. Following a $2.6 million campaign for the project launched in January 2023, the rebuild and restoration of the Aluminaire House is complete.  In January the Palm Springs Art Museum opened a permanent exhibition, “Albert Frey: Inventive Modernist,” dedicated to Frey’s life and work. Frey was one of the most significant architects practicing and building in Palm Springs, thus it is fitting that this earlier work find its home amongst his desert work. 

In 1930, the Swiss architect Albert Frey (1903-1998) went to New York and collaborated with A. Lawrence Kocher (1885-1969) to build the Aluminaire House for a design showcase that was actually an indoor exhibition. The all metal home, the first built of its time, is clad in aluminum panels and glass. Using inexpensive materials, all three stories were constructed in only 10 days. The Aluminaire House received much praise—along with some ridicule from the general public—and was featured in the Architectural League of New York’s annual Exposition of Architectural and Allied Arts in 1931 and in the exhibition The International Style – Architecture Since 1922 at MoMA in 1932. Soon after, architect Wallace K. Harrison purchased the house and it remained on his property for decades. In the years following Harrison’s passing, it would fall into disrepair and then be saved by the New York Institute of Technology when it was moved to the Central Islip campus in 1988. In more recent years, the nonprofit Aluminaire House Foundation was formed and the organization donated the home to the Palm Spring Arts Museum where it finally stands with Frey’s later work in California.

Attend the grand opening on March 23, 2024.

A Beacon of Modern Architecture Lands in the Desert,” January 25, 2024, The New York Times.