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Donald Wexler

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Occupation  Architect
Name  Donald Wexler

Role  Architect
Donald Wexler Don Wexler39s midcentury palm springs home for Dinah Shore

Born  January 23, 1926 (1926-01-23) Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Alma mater  University of Minnesota
Buildings  Palm Springs International Airport, Steel Development Houses, Merrill Lynch, Desert Water Agency, Larson Justice Center
Died  June 26, 2015, Palm Desert, California, United States
Structures  Alexander Steel House (folded roof)

Education  University of Minnesota

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Donald Allen Wexler (January 23, 1926 – June 26, 2015) was an influential Mid-Century modern architect whose work is predominantly in the Palm Springs, California, area. He is known for having pioneered the use of steel in residential design.


Donald Wexler The 1962 Steel House by Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison

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Life and career

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Wexler was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1926 and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950 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. 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.


Donald Wexler Remembering Donald Wexler the Inventor of Palm Springs Modernism

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

Donald Wexler Palm Springs midcentury architecture pioneer Donald Wexler

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. In 2014, actor Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the original Dinah Shore residence in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs for $5,230,000 (equivalent to $5,290,000 in 2016).

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Wexler died at his home in Palm Desert on June 26, 2015 following a brief illness. He was 89.

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Donald Wexler Wikipedia