Midcentury modernism—an architectural movement built on wide-open spaces—has thrived here in the West. The style, in vogue from the 1930s to the 1960s, emphasizes simple materials (glass, steel, wood) and design that invites the outside in. Floor-to-ceiling windows create a sense of transparency, while clean lines and sleek furniture encourage a less cluttered way of living. Today, you can tour, eat, and even sleep in midcentury gems all over the West.
The desert resort of Palm Springs, California, experienced a postwar growth spurt and quickly became the capital of modernism, with its exuberant bank buildings, tracts of ranch houses, and sleek movie star residences. In 2006, locals inaugurated an annual celebration of the city's notable architecture, Modernism Week (Feb. 16–26). It has since grown from a handful of design history lectures and home tours into a full-on extravaganza, complete with period-dress cocktail parties and synchronized swimming demos. If you don't make it then, you can join Palm Springs Architecture Tours to explore the area's architectural wonders any time.