Day 290/365 of Steel – Donald Allan Wexler

Steel and shade – the architecture of Donald Allan Wexler.

Donald Allan Wexler (b. 23/01/1926 and d. 26/06/2015) was born in Sioux Falls SD. Wexler graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950. He moved to Los Angeles to work for Richard Neutra then moved to Palm Springs in 1952 to work for William Cody. In 1952, Wexler, along with Richard Harrison from Cody’s firm, set up Wexler & Harrison.

Steel Prefab House
Fig 1: Steel Prefab House
Photo: © Juergen Nogai

In 1960, the George Alexander Construction Company hired them to design a neighborhood of prefab all-steel homes in Palm Springs. Due to high steel costs, the project was halted after just seven homes were built.

Steel Prefab House
Fig 2: Steel Prefab House
Photo: © Juergen Nogai

They immediately became internationally acclaimed as brilliant expressions of the Desert Modern style: light and elegant, with floor-to-ceiling windows, fluid interior layouts, multiple sliding doors opening onto exterior living spaces and pools, and design features, like deep overhangs, that accommodated sunlight and shadow.

Aimed at middle-class buyers, the steel houses could be built in 30 days or less. “We just wanted to do the most livable house we could, within the design criteria, keeping it as open as possible,” Wexler said in an interview in 2012.

Steel Prefab House
Fig 3: Steel Prefab House
Photo: © Juergen Nogai

After selling his practice to the corporate architects WWCOT in Los Angeles in 2000, Wexler returned to early form with an L-shaped steel house for the real estate developer Anne Krizman. It was his first steel residence since the “Style in Steel” house he designed in 1967 in Buena Park, California.

Steel Prefab House
Fig 4: Steel Prefab House
Photo: Archdaily.com

“With steel you get clean, sharp lines that will look good forever,” he told The Los Angeles Times in 1968. “Nothing can destroy it. Nothing can affect it.” Wexler practiced in Palm Springs for almost six decades designing houses, schools, hotels, banks and the Palm Springs International Airport.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

You May Also Like

Day 2/365 of Steel – Roy Hofheinz

Roy Hofheinz was born on the 10th of april 1912. As co-owner of HSA (Houston Sports Association) he was the driving force behind the construction of the famous Astrodome. The…
Read More

Day 19/365 of Steel – The Gherkin

On the 28th of April 2004, The Gherkin was officially inaugurated. Norman Foster (architect) and Ove Arup (engineering) created a true masterpiece in skyscraper engineering. The Gherkin is an example…
Read More

Day 29/365 of Steel – Menashe Kadishman

Menashe Kadishman (21/8/1932 – 8/5/2015) I discovered Kadishman’s work during our visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.The Memory Void, one of the symbolic spaces on the ground level of…
Read More