William F. Cody, FAIA, was born in 1916 in Dayton, Ohio and studied architecture at USC where, as a student, he worked for Cliff May. Following graduation in 1942, Cody apprenticed at several California firms, moving to Palm Springs in 1946.
Cody was first employed staff architect for the Desert Inn Hotel, before setting off on his own to design the Del Marcos Hotel (1947). A subsequent project, the conversion of the 1936 Thunderbird Ranch to Thunderbird Country Club, led to design commissions for the clubhouses at Tamarisk, Eldorado, Seven Lakes and seven other Country Club developments. It is through these many projects that Cody is credited with the County Club Sub-division concept in the West.
As one of the architects of the Spa Bath House (along with Wexler & Harrison and Phillip Koenig), and the adjacent Spa Hotel, Cody is also noted for a number of spectacular contemporary residential commissions including the Perlberg (1952), Shamel (1961) and Abernathy (1962) Residences. The L’Horizon Hotel (1952), now known as The Horizon Hotel, is a well-restored example of Cody’s design. Cody’s career included a wide variety of commercial and residential projects in Palm Springs and beyond, including projects in Phoenix, San Diego, Palo Alto, and Havana. Cody was inducted into the College of Fellows of the AIA in 1965.
Among the last projects in which Cody is credited as the designer were St. Theresa’s Catholic Church (1968) and the Palm Springs Library Center, designed 1972 and completed in 1975. Cody suffered a debilitating stroke in 1973 that ended his architectural career, although the firm continued on for several years. Cody died in 1978 leaving behind a legacy of important contributions to what is known today as Desert Modernism – his career continues to serve as an inspiration to successive generations of architects.