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Living Architecture Sprouts in Palm Springs

Design Trends

In conjunction with the Getty’s sweeping Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center is currently showcasing Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture. PST: LA/LA is an expansive and collaborative exhibition of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles.

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Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center

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Famed Los Angeles architect Barbara Bestor designed the colorful and playful Frey and Bo Bardi exhibition in Palm Springs.

Frey was a Swiss architect who emigrated to America in the 1930s and eventually settled in the
desert landscape of Palm Springs. Bo Bardi was from Italy but left her homeland for São Palo, Brazil in 1946. While Frey and Bo Bardi never met and held very different backgrounds and experiences, their architecture shared commonalities. The International Style had profound impacts on both architects. The similarities in their work crossed continents, cultures, and decades as both explored architecture’s connection to nature.

Panorama view

Views from Frey House II. Image Credit JEFF MARQUIS


Frey House II Living Room. Image Credit JEFF MARQUIS

Bo Bardi translated Frey’s treatise In Search of a Living Architecture for Domus. Each architect integrated nature into their respective works. Bo Bardi’s residential structures were modern treehouses, covered in the lush surrounds. In the case of her own residence contains a living area that is built around a large tree which grows up, through the house. Frey was adept at making his residential structures like Frey House II, disappear with ease to become one with the rocky desert landscape. The residence too invites nature inside with a boulder that acts as a divider between the bedroom and living room.

Museum building

Bo Bardi’s Museu de Arte de São Paulo. Image Credit Rodrigo Soldon

House stairs

Bo Bardi Residence. Image Credit: Zonda Bez

Despite living a world away, the two architects both used their respective, adopted homelands to showcase the environmental context of their work. The exhibition is on now through January 2018 at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. Visit for more information and tickets.