The Aluminaire House has found a permanent home on the West Coast.

The Aluminaire House Foundation, established by New York architects Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani, announced this week that it has donated the groundbreaking Modernist structure to the Palm Springs Art Museum in California, where it will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

A. Lawrence Kocher, a longtime editor of Architectural Record, and Albert Frey, a young Swiss architect who worked for Le Corbusier in Paris, designed the structure in 1931. The first house in the U.S. constructed of all metal, it was assembled in just 10 days and exhibited by the Allied Arts and Industries and the Architectural League of New York in a show at the Grand Central Palace exposition hall in New York, drawing more than 100,000 visitors over the course of a week. It was later featured in the 1932 MoMA exhibition, “The International Style – Architecture Since 1922.”

For a time, the Aluminaire House was located on the Long Island campus of the New York Institute of Technology. Photo © Michael Schwarting

The innovative aluminum and metal house changed hands and locations many times in the decades that followed. In 2012, after some 25 years of working to protect it through their Foundation (of which architecture critic Kenneth Frampton is also a part), Schwarting and Campini dismantled the house and stored it on Long Island in preparation for its eventual relocation to California.

“Palm Springs Art Museum has a long tradition of honoring Albert Frey, so donating the Aluminaire to be a part of their world-class collection was an obvious choice,” said Mark Davis, a member of the California chapter of the Aluminaire House Foundation. “We are thrilled that this structure, which we brought to Palm Springs three years ago, will soon be reassembled with private funds raised by the Aluminaire House Foundation, and be on permanent display outside of the museum.”

Meant to coincide with the reassembly of the house, which is still pending final approvals from the city, the Palm Springs Art Museum is organizing an Albert Frey exhibition for 2021-2022.

Rendering of the relocated Aluminaire House in Palm Springs, image courtesy Aluminaire House Foundation