Albert Frey (1903 – 1998) was a Swiss-born architect who had contributed in introducing a modern architecture style that came to be known as “desert modernism” around Palm Springs, California. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Frey was trained as an architect at the Institute of Technology in Winterthur, Switzerland. Frey worked on various architectural projects in Belgium until he landed on a position in the Paris atelier of the International Style architect, Le Corbusier in 1928.
Frey came to New York in 1930. He was the first Le Corbusier disciple to practice architecture in the United States. In New York, he became partners with A.L. Kocher in developing the innovative Aluminaire House for an exhibition in 1932. It was 1934 when Frey was introduced to the California desert. He came to Palm Springs to supervise a construction project of the Kocher-Samson Building. Frey briefly returned to New York, but permanently relocated to Palm Springs in 1939.
In Palm Springs, Frey worked on many structures including residential, commercial, institutional, and civic buildings, often partnering with other architects such as John Porter Clark and Robson C. Chambers. Significant structures by Frey include: Frey House I and II; Palm Springs City Hall, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Valley Station, and Tramway Gas Station (now used as the Palm Springs Visitor’s Center). These iconic buildings became the landmarks of Palm Springs and attract many visitors from all over the world today.