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Radical 1960s prefab home lists for $839,000 in Palm Springs

A slice of 1960s Desert Modernism is up for sale in California’s Palm Springs for $839,000 – and it’s been perfectly preserved.

Named Steel Development House Number 2, the steel-and-glass house was built in 1961 by Palm Springs-based architect Donald Wexler, and his partner, Richard Harrison, and is one of a series of seven prefabricated homes at the foot of the soaring San Jacinto Mountains.

Radical 1960s prefab home in Palm Springs designed by Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison
Photography: Dan Chavkin

Steel walls, kitchens and bathrooms were built in a Los Angeles factory before being transported to the desert, where they were assembled in just three days. The houses – sited to take advantage of the expansive mountain vistas – were designed as low-cost vacation homes for the burgeoning middle class.

Steel Development House Number 2 spans 1,411 sq ft and has been carefully maintained over the years. The two-bedroom Palm Springs property has been brought up to date and has the addition of a swimming pool and new landscaping, which were created with Wexler consulting.

Radical 1960s prefab home in Palm Springs designed by Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison
Photography: Dan Chavkin

Wexler and Harrison’s Steel Development housing project was designed to include 38 houses but it was never completed due to rocketing steel prices, which made it no longer financially viable. Today, the midcentury property is considered some of Wexler’s most significant works and an important part of Palms Springs’ architectural heritage.

Thanks to the efforts of its owner, the home – on sale with real estate agency Paul Kaplan Group – was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, making it the first mid-century modern building in the city to receive the classification.

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