Good Design Lasts Forever.
E. Stewart Williams
E. Stewart Williams was one of the deserts pioneer modernist architects, and was best known for designing and building a home for Frank Sinatra.
E. Stewart Williams, was born in 1909, he was the eldest son of Harry Williams (Architect of the historic La Plaza Shopping Center in Palm Springs). As did his father, Williams studied architecture at Cornell and went on to receive his Masters from the University of Pennsylvania in 1933.
He began his professional career in New York in the office of Raymond Loewy, where he worked on projects for the 1939 New York World's Fair and the Lord & Taylor store in Manhasset, on Long Island.
After serving in the United States Navy, he returned to Palm Springs to set up his own shop.
William's career got off to a great start in 1947, with the design of the Frank Sinatra house, known as the Twin Palm Estate. In the Sinatra house, Williams became known for his "Desert Modern Style," with the use of natural materials, a sophisticated contrast of textures and an elegant flow between inside and outside design. Williams was also known for his artistry when it came to working with various textures like, wood, stone, and concrete in creating harmonious designs.
Mr. Williams designed many public buildings in Palm Springs, including Temple Isaiah, which won an award from the American Institute of Architecture in 1949. In the 1950's and 60's, he completed several commissions for local banks and designed the mountain station for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
His largest project was the campus for Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, Calif., where he transformed a hilly site into a flowing series of terraces. His most prominent, and his favorite, was the Palm Springs Desert Museum, which opened in 1976. In 1993, he came out of retirement to design a new wing for the museum.
He also continued doing residential work throughout his career, including the Edris House, which was designated a historic building by the Palm Springs City Council in 2004, and a vacation house in nearby Rancho Mirage for Ralph Kiner, the Hall of Fame baseball player and longtime New York Mets announcer.
E. Stewart Williams, an architect whose many works in Palm Springs, California, helped define what became known as the Desert Modern style. He died on September 10, 2005. He was 95. He will be sadly missed.