Donald Wexler

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Donald Wexler
Born (1926-01-23) January 23, 1926 (age 89)
South Dakota
Alma mater University of Minnesota
Occupation Architect
Buildings Palm Springs International Airport

Donald Wexler is an influential Mid-Century modern architect whose work is predominantly in the Palm Springs, California area. He is known for pioneering the use of steel in residential design.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Wexler was born in South Dakota in 1926 and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950[2] and worked for Richard Neutra. He moved to Palm Springs in 1952 and practiced there for almost six decades, developing an architecture that is acutely sensitive to the extremes of the desert climate. In 1962, he designed the all-steel Alexander houses, along with the structural engineer Bernard Perlin for the developers George and Robert Alexander. His houses' framing, roofs and exterior siding are typically steel, with drywall interior siding.[3] While he chose to keep his office small and limited his practice to the desert community, Wexler produced a body of work that included houses, schools, hotels, banks and the Palm Springs International Airport.[4]


A one time resident of Palm Springs,[5] Wexler had a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars dedicated to him in 2008.[6] Archives of his work are kept at the Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design.[7] In 2011, the Palm Springs Art Museum organized the exhibition "Steel and Shade: The Architecture of Donald Wexler".[8]

In 2011, developer Marnie McBryde presented plans to build up to 50 Wexler-designed houses, which are adaptations of the 1964 Palm Springs house he designed for Dinah Shore, throughout the Hamptons.[9] In 2014, actor Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the original Dinah Shore residence in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs.[10]


  1. ^ Bricker, Lauren Weiss; Williams, Sidney J. (2011). Steel and Shade : the Architecture of Donald Wexler. Palm Springs, CA: Palm Springs Art Museum. p. 131. ISBN 978-0981674346. LCCN 2010043639. OCLC 700522272. This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition Steel and Shade: The Architecture of Donald Wexler at the Palm Springs Art Museum, January 29 - May 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Donald Wexler". Modern Desert Home. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ Brooke Hodge (February 17, 2011), Seeing Things: Donald Wexler, Desert Modernist New York Times.
  4. ^ Brooke Hodge (February 17, 2011), Seeing Things: Donald Wexler, Desert Modernist New York Times.
  5. ^ Johns, Howard (2004). Palm Springs Confidential: Playground of the Stars!. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books. pp. 156, 216. ISBN 978-1569802694. LCCN 2004041116. OCLC 54392060. LCC PN2285 .J56 2004
  6. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars: By Date Dedicated
  7. ^ "Architectural Exhibition Features Work of Donald Wexler at Palm Springs Art Museum" (Press release). Palm Springs Art Museum. December 1, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ Christopher Hawthorne (February 15, 2011), Culture Watch: Architect Donald Wexler in Palm Springs Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Brooke Hodge (February 17, 2011), Seeing Things: Donald Wexler, Desert Modernist New York Times.
  10. ^ Lauren Beale (March 7, 2014), Leonardo DiCaprio buys Dinah Shore's onetime desert home Los Angeles Times.

Further reading[edit]

  • McGrew, Patrick; Donald Wexler (2010, ©2009). Donald Wexler: Architect. Palm Springs, CA: Palm Springs Preservation Foundation. p. 54. OCLC 688357507.  Check date values in: |date= (help)