The Aluminaire House in the museum’s parking lot.

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News Byte: Aluminaire House Finds New Home in Palm Springs

September 22, 2020

The Aluminaire House Foundation, founded by NYIT School of Architecture and Design faculty Michael Schwarting, M.Arch., and Frances Campani, M.Arch., has donated the Aluminaire House to the Palm Springs Museum of Art to be part of its permanent collection. Campani and Schwarting Architects designed a preliminary site plan for the house at the museum’s south parking area. They will be responsible for the reconstruction of the house and participate in the upcoming exhibition on the work of Albert Frey, which will run from 2021 through 2022.

The revolutionary house was designed by architects A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey and was unveiled at the Architectural and Allied Arts Exposition in New York City in 1931. The all metal home was constructed mostly of aluminum and glass components, which inspired the name. It was intended to be mass-produced and affordable, using inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials. It garnered much attention at the time, and when the exposition ended, it was purchased by architect Wallace K. Harrison, who relocated it to his country estate in Huntington, N.Y.

After years of neglect, the house was in danger of being demolished. A group of preservationists led by Schwarting and Campani set about to save the home. In 1988, New York Institute of Technology purchased the Aluminaire house. As part of their coursework, architecture students dismantled and rebuilt it on the Central Islip campus (then the location of one of its architecture programs).