Albert Frey at Frey II Drafting Table photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Art Museum
ALBERT FREY, FAIA
Albert Frey earned his architectural degree in 1924 in Switzerland. In 1928, he began working for Le Corbusier in Paris, on groundbreaking projects including Villa Savoye (1929). Coming to New York in 1930, Frey partnered with A. Lawrence Kocher, Managing Editor of Architectural Record on the all-metal Aluminaire House.
Frey lived in Palm Springs from the 1930s until he died, shaping Desert Modernism with his radical designs. From 1935-37, Frey partnered with John Porter Clark under the ‘Van Pelt & Lind’ umbrella – a Pasadena firm. Early homes in Rancho Mirage were designed in the late 1930s for developer Mac Blankenhorn. Frey’s most important project in Rancho Mirage featured his characteristic blending of architecture and desertscape. Built in 1945 for western movie actor Raymond Hatton, the house was located opposite the Wonder Palms Ranch (later Tamarisk Country Club). Designed with Frey’s distinctive horizontal and vertical planes and corrugated metal, the striking home was photographed by Julius Shulman. It was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Rancho Mirage Racquet Club.
Frey designs include the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Valley Station, Frey House II, and Palm Springs City Hall. His landmark Tramway Gas station features a dramatic hyperbolic paraboloid roofline.