Palm Springs Modern Committee (PSModCom) Celebrates The Landmark Designation of the Ultra Modern 1958 Palm Springs Robinson's Department Store

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PSModCom celebrates landmark designation of Palm Springs Robinson Department Store.

modern Robinson building

1958 Iconic Robinson Department Store

This building is one of the best examples of classic mid-century modern architecture in Palm Spring

On January 16, 2013 the Palm Springs City Council voted unanimously to designate the J.W. Robinson Department Store building as a Class 1 Historic Site. The council determined that the designation was "too important" to the city to deny approval because of opposition by the owner. The nomination, written by Palm Springs Preservation Foundation (PSPF) president Ron Marshall, was lauded as well-researched and convincing. Making compelling public comment in support of the nomination was PSModCom president Chris Menrad.

The J. W. Robinson Department Store building built in 1958 was designed by the Los Angeles-based architectural firm of Charles Luckman Associates and William L. Pereira. Both Luckman and Pereira were nationally-prominent practitioners of Modern architecture and were two of the “out-of-town” architects who made significant contributions to the Palm Springs stock of iconic mid-century architecture.

In his remarks before the City Council, Menrad said the building is “one of the best examples of classic mid-century modern architecture that we have in Palm Springs. And it is directly across the street from the City’s new Architecture and Design Museum, itself a designated landmark.”

The commercial building’s architectural features place it directly in the historic context of Desert Modernism. The pavilion style building is dramatically elevated from the street level by steps that create both a sense of arrival and convey the importance of the building. It was immediately recognized by the architectural press and peers in the profession as an extraordinary effort that combined a sense of proportion, massing, refinement and use of modern materials and technology. It won the American Institute of Architecture “First Honor Award” for 1958.

The building located on historic Palm Canyon Drive is a largely intact example of the significant modern architecture for which Palm Springs is internationally known.

The department store, a unique branch of the prestigious Southern California specialty Department Store chain J.W. Robinson based in Los Angeles, is an example of the Palm Springs glamor that catered to Hollywood’s rich and famous who lived and played in the desert resort.

About Palm Springs Modern Committee

The Palm Springs Modern Committee (PSMODCOM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of Desert Modern architecture and design. We accomplish this through education, advocacy for threatened buildings, promotion of heritage tourism, and the celebration of successes in preservation and adaptive reuse.
For additional information about PSMODCOM, please visit: http//

Contact: Nickie McLaughlin
Palm Springs Modern Committee
760-835 5628

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Nickie McLaughlin
Palm Springs Modern Committee
760 835 5628
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