Master of Palm Springs Modernism Gets a Houston Mod Moment — William F. Cody Keeps It Midcentury
Rediscover an Iconic ArchitectBY Catherine D. Anspon // 11.07.22
William F. Cody's Jennings B. and Anna Shamel Residence, Indian Wells, California, 1963 (Julius Shulman photography archive © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)
"Master of the Midcentury: The Architecture of William F. Cody" (Monacelli)
William F. Cody's Eldorado Country Club, Indian Wells, California, 1959 (Julius Shulman photography archive © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)
A William F. Cody classis design: Desert Bel Air Estates, Indian Wells, California, 1961-1964. (James Butchart)
A timeless early work of architecture by William F. Cody: Del Marcos Apartment Hotel, Palm Springs, California, 1947. (Julius Shulman photography archive © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)
The glamorous Palm Springs Spa Hotel, Palm Springs, California, 1963, by William F. Cody (Julius Shulman photography archive © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)
The architect's own home typified his approach to Desert Modernism: William F. and Wini Cody Residence, Palm Springs, California, 1952. (Gail B. Thompson)
William F. Cody was truly a master of midcentury modernism, who defined Palm Springs' architecture during the heady post-war years. Shown: Dr. Branch and Carol Kerfoot Residence, Newport Beach, California, 1967. (Darren Bradley)
One of William F. Cody's diverse designs: The Springs Restaurant, Cameron Shopping Center, Palm Springs, 1957. (Erwin Lang)
Commissions for country clubs and the luxurious desert-living lifestyle were the calling cards of William F. Cody's practice. Shown: The architect's iconic Eldorado Country Club, Indian Wells, California, 1959. (Julius Shulman photography archive © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)
Water elements were often employed in William F. Cody's practice. Shown: Palm Springs Spa, Palm Springs, California, 1959. (Julius Shulman photography archive © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)
William F. Cody's W. & J. Sloane Company Display House, La Quinta, California, 1961 (Gail B. Thompson)
The architect designed the sanctuary for the church where he and his family worshipped: St. Theresa Catholic Church, Palm Springs, California, 1968. (Darren Bradley)
A William F. Cody commission outside of California reveals his versatility: Western Savings & Loan, Tempe, Arizona, 1962. (Rob Adams)
Architect William F. Cody, circa 1964, with his unbuilt model for the Robert P. McCulloch House, Lake Havasu City, Arizona (Courtesy the William F. Cody Papers and William F. Cody Papers 2, Special Collections and Archives, Robert E. Kennedy Library, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)
Calling all disciples of architecture, modernism and design: An upcoming lecture cracks open an important chapter in the alluring tale of mid-century modernism. This Wednesday, November 9, Houston Mod — the nonprofit devoted to preserving and educating the community about the Bayou City’s mid-century architecture — presents a talk and book signing for Master of the Midcentury: The Architecture of William F. Cody (Monacelli, $60) at MATCH.
Cody was an icon of Palm Springs’ built environment at the mid-century. His prodigious output (1916 to 1978) helped define the Southern California desert city as an oasis of cool. The architect designed Frank Sinatra’s home in the Palm Springs suburb of Rancho Mirage in 1953, but the hospitality sector is where he excelled — swank country clubs, spas and hotels that helped spread his renown.
Key projects included the conversion of the Thunderbird Dude Ranch into the Thunderbird Country Club (1950), the Eldorado Country Club (1959), the Palm Springs Spa (1959) and the Palm Springs Spa Hotel (1963).
This new and definitive volume on William F. Cody’s work was penned by Los Angeles curator, writer and educator Jo Lauria; architectural historian and Cal Poly professor Dr. Don Choi; and the architect’s daughter Catherine Cody Nemirovsky, in from England. Cody Nemirovsky is the steward of her father’s papers and co-curator of the exhibition “Fast Forward,” organized on the centennial of his birth. Joining the trio is David Bucek, FAIA, Stern and Bucek Architects, and chair of the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission, who lends insights into the legacy of Cody in Texas. Houston Mod’s VP, architect David Lidsky emcees, while architect Kathy Heard leads the Q&A with Cody Nemirovsky. Supporter Cynthia Toles steps up as a lead sponsor.
Just in: Katie Nartonis, curator, filmmaker and 20th century art and design specialist will substitute on the podium on behalf of Lauria.
Midcentury Modern Architecture of William F. Cody, presented by Houston Mod with a reception, talk and book signing at MATCH, Matchbox 2 theater (3400 Main at Holman) on Wednesday, November 9 with 6 pm cocktails and a 7 pm lecture. Tickets are $10 for Houston Mod members and $15 for nonmembers. Get more info and tickets here.