Palm Springs Modernism Week kicks off

POSTED: 12:18 AM PST Feb 15, 2013    UPDATED: 12:21 AM PST Feb 15, 2013 

Patti Hanley is the owner of Palm Springs Walking Tours. She says the event she's been waiting all year for is finally here.

"Every single day I mention Modernism Week," she said.

The 8th Annual Modernism Week kicked off Thursday at Birba in Palm Springs, an 11-day celebration of modern design, architecture and culture in the city.

Hanley says "It's great for me as a business. It's a busy, busy time."

"We have the greatest collection of mid-century architecture in the world," said William Kopelk, the Associate Director of Modernism Week.

This year's theme is "Illuminated Modern." For the next week, 10 designated mid-century design buildings along Palm Canyon will be illuminated with blue and orange lights, highlighting information about the architects and their styles.

For good reason, organizers are bracing themselves for quite the crowd.

"Last year we had 35,000 people. This year we're expecting 45,000 to 50,000," said Kopelk.

Hanley says with those numbers she plans to pound the pavement, walking dozens of miles giving tours throughout the week to more than 25 visitors a day.

The clean lines and elegance of the Valley's architecture are already bringing good fortune to the local economy.

"I know hotels are busy when I go by there. Restaurants are full. It's wonderful for all of Palm Springs," said Hanley.

The week includes more than 100 festivities, including bus tours, films, lectures and educational events.

"The more I learn about the architects, the more info I can give to the folks who take any tours," said Hanley.

The mecca of modernism and sunshine is what organizers say brings those folks back for more.

"They see that modern architecture with the background of the mountains, then they get it. They say, 'Oh, this is So-Cal living," said Jacques Caussin, the Board Chairman of Modernism Week.

For tickets and a complete list of events, go to