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Wexler Steel Houses

7 homes herald the breakthrough concept of prefab design

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Modernist architect Donald Wexler believed that steel was ideal for desert building—it was economical and stood tough against sun, heat, and wind. In 1961, he planned an entire Palm Springs subdivision of nearly 40 homes, all to be made out of prefab steel and glass. Wexler got the idea from prefab classroom design, adapting it to create his stylish yet affordable homes (original price tags in 1962: $13,000 to $17,000).

Even with his visionary design skills, Wexler couldn’t foresee the future—and the skyrocketing price of steel. Deemed too costly, the development was never completed, and the seven original homes were largely forgotten. Fortunately for design fans, Wexler’s prefab groundbreakers were rediscovered in the early 1990s, and most of the buildings have been carefully restored, complete with era-appropriate landscaping. Respectfully admire the private homes, in the Racquet Club Estates neighborhood, from the outside only (no public tours of the interiors are available).

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