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Master of the Midcentury: The Architecture of William F. Cody is the first, long-overdue book on this key Palm Springs architect, abundantly illustrated and detailed.
Of the architects who made Palm Springs a crucible of midcentury American modernism, William F. Cody (1916-1978) was one of the most prolific, diverse, and iconic. Directing a practice ranging from residences to commercial centers and industrial complexes to master plans, Cody's designs are so recognizable that they provide visual shorthand for what is widely hailed as "Desert Modern." While his architecture was disciplined and technically innovative, Cody did not practice an austere modernism; he imbued in his projects a love for social spaces, rich with patterns, texture, color, and art.
Though the majority of Cody's built work was concentrated in California and Arizona, he had commissions in other western states, Hawaii, Mexico, Honduras, and Cuba. From icons like the Del Marcos Hotel (1946), to inventive country clubs like the Eldorado (1957), to houses for celebrities (Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Walt Disney), Cody's projects defined the emerging West Coast lifestyle that combined luxury, leisure, and experimental design. Cody also pushed the boundaries of engineering, with beams and roof slabs so thin that his buildings seemed to defy gravity.
Master of the Midcentury is the first monograph devoted to Cody, authored by the team that curated the acclaimed exhibition Fast Forward: The Architecture of William F. Cody at the Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles: his daughter, Cathy Cody, design historian Jo Lauria, and architectural historian Don Choi. Replete with photographs of extant and now-lost structures, as well as masterful color renderings and drawings for architectural commissions and plans for vanguard building systems, Master of the Midcentury is the authoritative resource on Cody.
About the Author
Catherine Cody Nemirovsky is the third daughter of William and Winifred Cody. With a background in residential building design and interior design, she became steward of her father’s papers in 2006, and began preparing a biography. As part of her research, Cody Nemirovsky co-curated the exhibition Fast Forward, celebrating William Cody’s centennial birth with organizing curator Jo Lauria, professor of architecture Don Choi, and architectural historian Emily Bills at the Architecture and Design Museum in 2016. Jo Lauria is a Los Angeles-based curator, writer, and educator who received her curatorial training at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is a specialist in the fields of design and craft, and has explored objects and architectural environments that define American lifestyle and culture. Lauria has organized significant touring exhibitions and published extensively, receiving the American Ceramic Circle Book Award in 2016. She is Mentor Faculty at Otis College of Art and Design and Adjunct Curator of American Museum of Ceramic Art. Don Choi is an architectural historian who specializes in modern Japan and California. He holds an A.B. in economics from Princeton University, a M.Arch. from Rice University, and a Ph.D. in architectural history from the University of California, Berkeley. He conducted his doctoral research under Dr. Terunobu Fujimori at Tokyo University’s Institute of Industrial Science. Currently he is professor of architecture at California Polytechnic State University, where he teaches courses in architectural history and theory.
“Photographs of extant and now-lost structures mingle with renderings and drawings for architectural commissions and plans for vanguard building systems in a tome replete with insights into beloved structures and a retrospective of those we miss.”
—Palm Springs Life Home+Design
“A pivotal new title celebrating Cody’s career.”
“A legendary architect.”
“Celebrate[s] the many vibrant facets of California design.”
—Luxe Interiors + Design
“The first comprehensive survey of the Modernist architect’s life and work.”
“In William F. Cody’s simplicity was a vision of some fantasy. We’re still fantasizing to this day.”
“...one of the most iconic Palm Springs architects. . . . The first comprehensive retrospective about the key modernist architect’s life and work.”
“A beautiful ode to Midcentury leisure and luxury.”
—Luxe Interiors + Design
“Travel back in time to William F. Cody’s now-razed Desert Modern.”
“Master of the Midcentury is the authoritative resource on Cody.”
—Palm Springs Life