Generally speaking, of course in more recent design and architecture circles we focus a bit too much perhaps on what’s new and modern and happening today and gloss over the slightly more recent past. I use the words glossy and modern as a nice segue into a recent trip I took out west to Phoenix Arizona. The first thing that comes to mind when I try to think of desert architecture is of course, dust. The desert is dusty, its sandy, the wind blows and why are all the buildings generally sort of that same drab color? You know that sort of sandy, ochre, beige? Architects of course use the materials that are typically native to an area and in the case of the desert, stone and the appropriate paint to mask the dusk, or at least blend it.
My natural curiousity and having extra time on my hands I spent some time exploring, visiting and marveling at the mid century modern of the architect Al Beadle. We tend to think of Mid-Century Modern as purely a Palm Springs style, but it has a rich history, everywhere across the US and Europe, more on that later.
Al Beadle is a name less well recognized by the average “architecture fan”, but he was a prolific builder, for a time practiced without a license and was otherwise one of those colorful characters that architects tend to be. His version of Mid-Century Modern can be almost described as a post Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Style, with clean modern lines, soaring interior spaces and windows. Many of his works bear an uncanny resemblance to Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, particularly his White Gates Home and those in Paradise Valley. His Three Fountains multi-family is a condo building and units do come up for sale on a relatively frequent basis and are affordable (Not making any pitch on this in particular).
Like many, most , all of the Mid-Century Modern Architects they are slowly passing into their own, Beadle died in 1998, just three years before Morris Lapidus. Beadle’s legacy, which is well worth recording is that of contemporary modern design, one of the artisans of Mid-Century Modern, particularly outside of Palm Springs and a transitional architect to today style and design.