chris menrad

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When you think of tract homes, you think of houses that look the same: the same color scheme, the same style; homes that form two uninteresting walls on either side of a suburban street. That might be the case today, but nearly 60 years ago — at a time when “real” architects wouldn’t touch tract homes — one architect did everything he could to break the monotony. His name is William Krisel, and he’s being honored by a place whose look he helped define — Palm Springs, Calif.

The minute you see Krisel’s homes, you’re taken back to another era. They have distinctive angled roofs, high windows and desert color schemes with pops of rich gold or vibrant blue. They also have lots of glass and elegantly simple lines, a signature of all the houses in the city’s Twin Palms tract neighborhood. One of those homes belongs to Heidi Creighton, and she knows just what she has. She says it’s “a Krisel-designed home, and it would be classified as a Model A-3 sunflap flat-roof tract house.”

Meet The Architect Who Helped Bring Modernism To The Masses

Photos: Darren Bradley/Courtesy of Darren Bradley