Architecturally speaking, your typical tract home, or “production house,” to use a slightly more PC moniker, has more to do with your average Taco Bell than with the elegant California Modernism of A. Quincy Jones, Albert Frey and the like. A few years ago, Andrew Adler, of the residential developer Alta Verde Group, teamed with Poon Design’s Anthony Poon and John Kim to change that—as Lisa Kraeage reported in FORM’s July/August 2011 issue—creating a development of production homes in Palm Springs, Alta Verde Escena, that mix affordability with Modernism.
“The thesis of our project was,” Poon recalls, “‘How can we deliver high-end Modernism at affordable price points?’” The team wanted the look and feel of a multi-million dollar home but for a reachable price. That meant designing expansive floor plans (no tight, cramped rooms) and including plenty of windows that allow in natural light, all with an eye on keeping costs low and production times short. The sleek cabinetry fixtures are sculptural, while the finishes are sophisiticated. Green elements even made it into the design with the incorporation of recycled content materials and rooftop solar panels. The finished houses have a level of aesthetic engagement that belie their ultimately modest costs.
Two years after our initial story, the response to this undertaking has been robust. “Before construction started on the first 12, all of them were sold based on drawings and renderings,” says Poon. With those initial houses just finished last month, construction has started on additional 10 houses, with 130 total planned for the development. There’s also talk of additional developments elsewhere in Southern California, in Arizona and even in Texas. And, just a few days ago, the project received an Award of Merit at the 2013 Gold Nugget Awards, sponsored by the Pacific Coast Builders Conference.